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Older People Living With HIV Get Much-Needed Boost

Photo by Marcus Aurelius from Pexels

A new effort will help elderly people with HIV live healthier lives less impacted by chronic illness.

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and the Keith Haring Foundation awarded a team of geriatricians at Mount Sinai’s Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine in New York $1.25 million to expand their work with elderly HIV patients.

This funding will support programs that will can be utilized by other health systems and hospitals to help older people living with HIV all across the country.

AIDS-related deaths have significantly decreased over the years due to advancement in treatment and preventions. The number of people over 50 living with HIV has gone up though, which has been both a blessing and a curse.

Principal Investigator Nathan Goldstein, MD, Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Mt. Sinai, noted that while antiretroviral (ART) medications have helped, older adults present new challenges for health care providers.

“These issues were present before the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Goldstein. “Now we are seeing that issues such as social isolation and not going to the doctor for two years have created a snowball effect that has only increased the needs of this unique and vulnerable patient population.”

A recent study found that life expectancy is similar to HIV-positive and HIV-negative people assuming the former is on ART. The difference is that HIV-positive people often experience many more years of ill-health than those without HIV; typically experiencing major co-morbidities 16 years earlier than HIV-negative people.

Outside of delivering the curriculum to other hospitals, the new funding will also allow the team at Mt. Sinai to expand. Angela Condo, MD, Assistant Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Icahn Mount Sinai said, “The foundation of the program hinges on a team approach that involves a practice-within-a-practice model with a geriatrician, a social worker, a nurse, and a pharmacist all under one roof.”

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