What are the needs, challenges and experiences of primarily Spanish-speaking Latinos age 50 and older who are living with HIV? That info has been lacking, but a first-of-its-kind national report is filling in the blanks. Titled Illuminating the Needs of the Forgotten “Olvidados”: A National Health Assessment of Latinos Growing Older With HIV, the much-needed report was released by the Latino Commission on AIDS and the Hispanic Health Network (olvidados means “forgotten ones”).
Many of the findings are quite memorable. Based on the responses of 157 Latinos living with HIV ages 50 to 80, the survey found that most respondents said they maintained an undetectable viral load, had a health care provider and were insured. Most of them reported low socioeconomic status and education. Also, one in three had some level of difficulty with adherence to treatment, and fully half reported experiences with depression.
“It is urgent to understand the needs of people growing older and living with HIV,” says Guillermo Chacon, president of the Latino Commission on AIDS and founder of the Hispanic Health Network. “We must be the voice of the voiceless to ensure we meet their prevention, care and social needs free of stigma and discrimination at every level.”