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Stress and isolation take toll on those under 50 with HIV; older people fare better
Date:11/21/2013

r people with HIV have increasingly limited and fragile relationships with their friends.

Webel also found that many older individuals who had lived with HIV for a longer time were willing to help the younger group manage the illness.

With new anti-retroviral therapies, HIV is no longer the death sentence it was in the 1980s. Today, medications allow those with the HIV infection to live a normal lifespan, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But HIV may accelerate aging, Webel said. HIV-infected people tend to develop cancers associated with old age 20 years earlier, as well as some forms of cognitive problems.

Generally, those with HIV also experience higher stress levels, according to Webel. The study's participants reported feeling 30 percent to 40 percent more stress than non HIV-infected populations. Women with HIV were especially susceptible to stress, and older people reported less stress than their younger counterparts.

Webel attributed the women's stress to such factors as the added pressures of single-motherhood, poverty and low-wage employment.

The researchers concluded that the younger group needs interventions with multiple approaches from health care, social services to counseling for coping with the illness-related stress and social isolation.

The journal AIDS Care reports the findings in October in the article, "Age, stress, and isolation in older adults living with HIV."


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Contact: Susan Griffith
susan.griffith@case.edu
216-368-1004
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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