Quality of life among people with HIV

The determinants of healthy ageing discussed in the previous Topic apply to all people as they age. This includes older people living with HIV.

But there are also many norms, beliefs and attitudes specific to the experience of being older and living with HIV. These attitudes can further impact how well a person living with HIV ages.

Many older people living with HIV also belong to other marginalised groups. These groups are also subjected to their own norms, beliefs and attitudes.

The intersections of these factors are important for understanding the unique experiences and needs of diverse older people living with HIV.

We will revisit the concept of intersectionality first introduced in Module 0 (HIV Core Knowledge) in Lesson 4.3.

In Module 0 (HIV Core Knowledge) and Module 2 (Client Work) you were also introduced to several models for considering quality of life among people living with HIV.

One of these was the PozQOL tool.

The PozQOL tool helps Peer Navigators ask questions to better understand their clients. The tool supports Peer Navigators to make better-informed decisions and deliver better health outcomes for people living with HIV. It also helps improve service quality.


Watch this video on how the PozQOL tool is being used in Living Positive Victoria’s peer navigator program (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24hs9hV_Hw0&t=6s)

Knowledge Question

In what ways can the PozQOL tool can be used by Peer Navigators to:
– support clients?
– improve their own practice? AND
– make program improvements?

The PozQOL tool is not specific to the experience of older people living with HIV (though question 12 does look at ageing). Even so, many questions in the tool link to the attributes for ageing we discussed in Topic 2.1.

These include for example feeling good about oneself, having purpose and meaning, feeling connected and respected, being able to manage one’s health.

When using the PozQOL tool with older people living with HIV some additional questions may be useful to explore how responses relate to the experience of HIV, the experience of ageing, and the experience of both.

For example:

  • How much are your responses influenced by your experience of living with HIV?
  • How much are your responses influenced by your experience of ageing?
  • Is one experience more important or impactful than another for certain responses?
  • In what ways do these experiences come together to influence your responses?

More information

Using PozQOL in community and peer support services

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