It is estimated that by 2015, over 50% of the people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. will be over the age of 50. These individuals, whether newly infected or long-term survivors, face unique health risks and co-morbid conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers, osteoporosis, vision deterioration issues and conditions related to other sexually transmitted infections. In addition, an overwhelming pill burden can lead to adherence and medication safety issues in this population.

The LGBT Elder Initiative presented “Gettin’ Older with HIV”  on Saturday, September 20, 2014, from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm. The program was part of the LGBTEI Conversations series. More than 40 community members and HIV service providers attended the workshop, which was held at the Church of St. Luke & the Epiphany in Philadelphia, PA.

“Gettin’ Older with HIV” addressed some of the unique health risks faced by LGBT older adults living with HIV and was designed to equip participants with ways to reduce those risks. The Conversation focused on fostering people’s ability to continue to live independently by offering tools they can use to advocate for their own social, emotional and physical health needs.

Watch the program in our video library:

John Stern, MD, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Pennsylvania Hospital spoke about the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in older adults and discussed common co-morbidities. Click to watch his presentation: Current epidemic, Co-morbidities, Organ-based disease and older adults with HIV

Wayne Marquardt, senior pharmacist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, discussed medication safety. Marquardt focused on adherence issues and drug interactions in patients taking HIV medications along with medications commonly used to treat diseases of aging. Click here to watch his presentation.

Jay Johnson, MBA, and Rosemary Taub, MSW, both of ActionAIDS, discussed social and environmental aspects of maintaining wellness. Their contributions added to the holistic view of health presented by the panel overall and spoke specifically to ways participants could prevent isolation, access relevant resources in their communities, improve emotional wellness, and continue to live independently. Click to watch the videos: Remaining Independent and Accessing Resources for Aging in Place

Following the presentations by members of the panel, pharmacists from Penn Medicine were available to meet one-on-one with attendees to review all of their medications and to answer medication-specific questions.

Additional Information

According to data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services, older people are more likely to be unemployed, more likely to be living in poverty, more likely to be socially isolated, and face high rates of neglect and abuse. All of these factors, when combined with HIV infection, contribute to a complex set of challenges and experiences that are unique to this group and demand careful study. For many reasons, including homophobia and transphobia, HIV+ LGBT older adults are especially at risk for discrimination and other barriers to care.

Collaborating Partners & Sponsors

“Gettin’ Older with HIV” was presented by the LGBT Elder Initiative in collaboration with ActionAIDS, the AIDS Library of Philadelphia and Penn Medicine. Support for this Conversation was provided by the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office, Delaware Valley Legacy Fund, Penn Medicine, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, and Philadelphia Gay News.


How HIV affects aging

On HIV & Aging:

How HIV affects aging: GOOD

Older Adults and HIV:

HIV and diabetes:

Exercise Guidelines Published for People with HIV Over 50:

Menopause and HIV:

Sexuality and Aging:

How can I get health insurance if I am HIV positive?

Ryan White Care Act:

Affordable Care Act:

Body issues

Touches on all the issues around lipodystrophy treatment:

The Skinny on Body Fat and HIV:

Can I do anything to get rid of my buffalo hump?

(It is always wise to proceed with caution with this sort of forums.)


Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP):

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep):

HIV treatment issues


Drug resistance:

Websites for general information



Special thanks to the staff of The AIDS Library of Philadelphia for their assistance with the preparation of this information.

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