Common barriers for older people with HIV

All people have a right to access age-friendly and affirming services and support. These should consider ageing and HIV needs as well as other aspects of identity and experience.

Yet older people living with HIV experience a wide range of barriers to accessing support.

Barriers to disclosing HIV status and accessing support operate at all levels. They are influenced by the norms, practices and beliefs we discussed in Topic 2.2.

There are many common barriers to accessing support across all groups of older people living with HIV.

They include some of the issues we have already discussed. Barriers related to cognitive and mobility decline. Experiences of social isolation. Ageism and HIV-related stigma.

Other common gaps and barriers for older people living with HIV include:

  • Lack of services focused on ageing and HIV
  • Lack of cultural safety and knowledge about HIV within mainstream services
  • Concerns about confidentiality and disclosure fears
  • Lack of information about services for older people and older people living with HIV
  • Complex services that are hard to understand and navigate
  • Service eligibility and wait times
  • Lack of access to transport and distance to services for people living in rural and regional areas
  • Service and medication costs especially for people experiencing financial hardship
  • Poor acknowledgement of sexuality and relationship needs of older people
  • Reducing intimate, social and familial supports over time

An intersectional lens can help us consider barriers for different groups of older people living with HIV.

These extra barriers add to the common barriers discussed above. They are discussed in the next topic.

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