HIV Be Not Proud
by Liz Highleyman
As you age, the virus that causes AIDS may or may not be your greatest enemy
If you’re aging with HIV, you may be wondering if, inevitably, you will become more and more susceptible to one or another HIV-related complication. The answer is: It’s hard to say. Research is all over the map. Early studies suggested that older people experienced more AIDS-related illnesses and shorter survival than younger people, but on average they also got diagnosed and started treatment later, due to delayed testing and a lack of awareness.
And while mortality rates for people with HIV over 50 are higher than for their younger counterparts, the same is true for HIV negative people. “Roughly half the deaths in HIV positive people over 50 are attributable to non-AIDS related causes,” says Justice, “but it’s not as easy as you might think to classify deaths as AIDS-related or not in the post-HAART era.” Taxes may still be one of life’s certainties; fortunately, dying from HIV is not.