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Orphaned elderly serious casualty of African AIDS epidemic, Stanford study finds
Date:6/17/2010

der care services, they noted.

Yet few African countries have public pension programs or formal systems for caring for elders; most rely on traditional family structures, now undercut by the strain of AIDS, to provide this service. The researchers said the study points to the importance of taking these needy elders into consideration in allocating resources and planning programs.

"This is another component of the social consequences of HIV. So people in agencies who make resource allocation decisions need to consider this cost of HIV, and it's a pretty important one," Miller said. "Those working on the ground dealing with late-stage AIDS patients also need to think about the dependents of these patients."

Policies that help reduce AIDS mortality also will be of help to this group, he said.

"Future work is needed to more closely examine the health and overall welfare of this population, but our work suggests that reducing AIDS deaths in Africa may provide substantial benefits to this under-recognized population," the researchers concluded.

The researchers said the study is just a first step in understanding the problem. They speculate that elderly individuals who are alone suffer greater health problems, though they didn't specifically address the issue in the study. Similarly, they did not look at quality-of-life issues, though they suspect that these elders suffer physical and financial burdens as a result of being primary caregivers for young children. More research is needed on the health, well-being and other issues associated with these neglected elders, they said.


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Contact: Ruthann Richter
richter1@stanford.edu
650-725-8047
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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