The Welsh Government and its health & social care services need to be prepared to care for the ageing population of those living with HIV, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have said.
The party is responding to the Terrence Higgins Trust’s Uncharted Territory report, which has captured the reality of what it means to be part of the first generation of people to grow old with HIV.
The report, which is being released on Thursday, finds that those over 50 with HIV are twice as likely to be living in poverty than the general population, and three times as likely to experience moderate to high levels of loneliness.
According to Public Health England, of the 168 people newly diagnosed with HIV in 2015 in Wales, 36 were aged 50 and over. In total there are 29,960 people aged 50 and over living with HIV in the UK – that’s 1 in 3 of all those with HIV.
Cadan ap Tomos, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson, said:
“The fact that those diagnosed with HIV are living into their 50s and beyond is testament to just how far we’ve come with treatment for the disease. But an ageing HIV population brings with it its own challenges never experienced before, and I’m concerned that our health and social care services may not be equipped to deal with it.
“This report tells the stories of incredibly brave individuals, but their experiences show that the outdated stereotypes and inaccurate stigma associated with HIV is still rife among our public services.
“The Welsh Government needs to review its care of older people with HIV, and ensure our services are ready to care for them with the dignity and respect that any of us would hope for.”