Graying of the HIV epidemic: a challenge for inpatient medicine providers

Matthew Harris, Ché; McKenzie, Robin; Nayak, Seema; Kiyatkin, Dmitry; Baker, Dorcas; Kisuule, Flora
December 2015
Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives (JC;2015, Vol. 5 Issue 6, p1
Academic Journal
Since the advent of anti-retroviral therapy, patients with HIVare living longer, and in the year 2015, over half of those infected with the virus will be older than age 50. Moreover, as the general aging population continues to grow, more elderly individuals will become newly infected with HIV. Older patients with HIV contribute to high numbers of initial and rehospitalizations, have longer lengths of hospital day stays, and are at increased risk of death compared to younger patients with HIV and those without HIV. Age-related comorbidities can be exaggerated in HIV-positive patients on and off therapy. Furthermore, signs and symptoms of HIV and AIDS may mimic features seen in the normal aging process of older adults. Internists caring for patients in inpatient settings will be expected to care for and diagnose increasing numbers of older patients with HIV. This will be critical for improving quality of patient care, reducing morbidity and mortality, and managing newly diagnosed patients earlier in the disease course while reducing spread of the virus. Internists should be central leaders in the development of targeted and non-targeted HIV screening efforts in inpatient general medicine wards.


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