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​GROWING UP AND AGING WITH HIV  

Adolescents and youth living with HIV often face social stigma and discrimination, which can hinder their ability to seek HIV support services and prevent them from pursuing life skills support, including entrepreneurship and leadership skills development. For the elderly living with HIV, the risk of developing other illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma and cancer, and the threat of drug interactions, is high. Both adolescents and the elderly living in rural areas are faced with additional challenges, including access to health care and treatment. Continuing our legacy focused on HIV/AIDS as our entry point. There is a need to align BMSF work to other psycho social support TAP offerings ensure Teens led (Baylor / Africaid models) and grandmother led  (GAPA) model still remain an important models on their own and make this a cross cutting issue in our cancer or TB programs.

This cohort forms part of the global young key population groups. Action steps have been crafted by the BMSF TAP faculty to address scaling up approaches for key populations, sexual reproductive rights and youth at risk but not reached.

  • The number of adolescents and ageing living with HIV and AIDS is on the increase.
  • It is anticipated that the numbers of HIV adolescents on Southern Africa will peak at 1% - 2% in the next decade*
  • There is no defined level of care within national structures for adolescents living with HIV and AIDS (ALHIV)
  • There are no defined plans of action for people living with HIV and AIDS > 49 years of age
  • Gaps in knowledge for the elderly exist on associated health and social challenges in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA)
  • Of the approximately 21 million people in SSA aged ≥ 15 years who are HIV+, 3 million (14.3%) are ≥ 50 years

Priority areas for continuum of care and support for Adolescents living with HIV (≥ 15 years old):

  • Adherence to ART: information sharing sessions to help the teens remember the importance of taking their medication
  • Disclosure: At the right age, in the right way, with the right support. Support ALHIV to make decisions around disclosure to others
  • Peer support initiatives: Training of peer leaders , peer counsellors,  health professionals
  • Family support: need to support the young person to identify a family member or peer who they can talk to about their problems
  • Sexual and Reproductive health services: information, skills, rights and responsibilities, safer sex, STIs, unintended pregnancies
  • Psychosocial Support:  Anxiety depression when transitioning to Adult Care
  • Lack of knowledge on co-morbid diseases coupled with HIV.

Relevant Links

Africaid: www.africaid-zvandiri.org
Baylor Teen Centres: www.bipai.org
Say What: www.saywhat.org.zw
UNFPA: www.unfpa.org


GROWING OLD WITH HIV

Despite a growing older population, there is a scarcity of reliable data on the health status of older people. There are gaps in knowledge which exist on associated health and social challenges in SSA as well as a lack of evidence negatively impacts strategic healthcare planning for the older population. The role of the elderly is seen a providers and carers for their grandchildren whose parents have died from HIV and AIDS. Most surveys focus on HIV testing less than 49 years of age. There is a growing population of adults greater than 50 years of age who are HIV positive which falls into 'Most at Risk' population groups. Less than half of all person > 50 years are reached by national HIV and AIDS communication (Shisana et.al., 2008)

Priority areas for continuum of care and support for the Ageing living with HIV (≥ 50 years old)

  • Lack of exposure to HIV communication programmes: Less than half of all persons ≥50 years are reached by a national HIV and AIDS communication programme
  • Voluntary HIV testing: If the infection is diagnosed early, the response to treatment is better
  • Support Groups: for HIV and co-morbid diseases
  • Nutritional deficiencies: leading to poor immunological outcomes
  • Stigma: A major barrier to managing HIV and AIDS
  • Diseases in older persons: HIV infection in the presence of underlying disease accelerates progression to AIDS

Relevant Links


Institute of Ageing: www.instituteofageing.uct.ac.za
GAPA: www.gapa.org.za
HSRC: www.hsrc.ac.za
                                   

* Ferrand RA, Corbett, Wood: AIDS among older children and adolescents in Southern Africa. AIDS 2009