EMPOWERING PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV IN THE LEBANESE COMMUNITY
Aging with HIV: Responding to the Needs and Challenges of PLHIV in Lebanon
According to the global reports, the prevalence of HIV among older adults (>50 years old) is increasing and it is expected to prevail. This aging tendency among PLHIV is mainly attributed to the medical advancement in the field of HIV treatment where the efficacy and availability of c-ART prolonged the life of PLHIV and shifted HIV from being an infectious fatal disease to a chronic condition. Moreover, a continuous rise in HIV incidence among older adults is still documented.
The aging phenomena among HIV positives ushers in complex health needs that challenge both the patient care and the healthcare systems.
In Lebanon, and according to the National Aids Program (NAP) at the MOPH, the average age of PLHIV is growing and the prevalence of HIV among older individuals is increasing. This emerging pattern is not accompanied with the formulation of guidelines or recommendations to ensure successful and healthy aging among HIV patients. Moreover, developing health policies and strategies at the national level requires the acquisition of reliable and accurate data regarding health profiles of HIV-positives. Such epidemiological data are still limited in Lebanon.
As such, a study was conducted by SIDC that was the first to provide a general and a preliminary overview of the health status of people aging with HIV in Lebanon, highlighting their unmet health needs, and provide estimation of the risk factors and age-associated comorbidities among study participants. Such information are highly needed for the proper management of complex health needs of PLHIV on the long run.