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Royal College of Nursing's statement on aging and HIV - National AIDS Trust comment.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Yusef Azad, Director of Policy and Campaigns, comments on the Royal College of Nursing's statement for the need for better training for nurses to support a 'silent generation' of older people living with HIV.

"The Royal College of Nursing is right to raise the issue of better training for nurses with regard to HIV and ageing. Thanks to advances in HIV treatment, someone is diagnosed in good time and takes HIV treatment they can expect to have a normal life span. 25% of people with HIV are over 50.  This means HIV care for an ageing population is increasingly an issue.

"Unfortunately many healthcare professionals still don't have the basic knowledge of HIV they need to be able to support this new demographic. We know there are gaps when it comes to understanding even some of the basic facts - such as the extremely low risk of transmission when HIV treatment is working, the need for daily adherence to treatment, and the few drugs which can interact badly with HIV medication. This is why the National AIDS Trust will be publishing a resource for all NHS staff to ensure everyone understands the basics.

"Research has also shown that people living with HIV are most likely to experience stigma in a healthcare setting (half of all experiences of stigma and discrimination are within the NHS). It is important to not only address gaps in medical knowledge when it comes to HIV but to challenge stigmatising attitudes and beliefs amongst all medical professionals." 

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