The Changing Face of HIV: Addressing Health Needs Across the Life Course
October 3, 2019
Thanks to sustained political leadership, unprecedented funding from bilateral and multilateral sources, and the adoption of innovative service delivery approaches in the face of a humanitarian crisis, the world has made considerable progress since the early 2000s in arresting the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. But there is still much more to be done if the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 is to be met. One often overlooked matter is that the profile of PLHIV is changing. Successful treatment regimens have extended life for millions, and an estimated 7.5 million of PLHIV are over the age of 50. As this population lives into its sixth and seventh decades and becomes more susceptible to other health challenges associated with aging, particularly non-communicable diseases (NCDs), initiating and maintaining patients on ART while addressing their health needs beyond HIV has become a critical challenge. In the decades to come, health systems in high-, middle-, and lower-income countries alike will need to adapt to better address patients’ medical concerns over the life course and beyond HIV, or they may risk undermining the considerable success of HIV programs altogether. In this context, new strategies articulating future bilateral and multilateral support for global AIDS programs should make the needs of PLHIV over 50 an explicit priority and identify the most promising approaches to enhance the health of PLHIV and those living with NCDs, as well.This project is made possible through the generous support of Merck & Co.