Managing patients with HIV isn’t as simple as treating the disease. These patients have complex psychosocial and physical health histories, but supportive care and commitment contracts can lead to improved outcomes, according to new research.
A report published in AIDS and Behavior found that older individuals with HIV are living with complex physical and psychosocial problems that negatively affect their overall quality of life. The study focused on patients with HIV aged 50 and older and found that substance abuse, mental health issues, demographic challenges a
nd comorbid physical conditions lead to a reduced quality of life. Clinical and supportive care were identified as key to managing this range of issues, as they could complicate the success of the HIV therapeutic regimen, according to the report.
“A chronic condition like HIV should not be addressed in a silo or without taking into consideration other co-occurring conditions, especially when we’re working with older people living with HIV,” said Jeffrey T. Parsons, PhD, co-author of the report told Medical Economics. “We found that many participants in our study
were dealing with a range of other conditions and, as such, issues relating to HIV management and care should be seen as operating in the context of, or alongside, other medical and physical issues arising from these co-morbidities.”
HIV management and care efforts should strive to consider co-occurring conditions. Efforts to address issues such as substance use behavior and mental health would benefit from a more holistic approach that considers the range of chronic conditions that people are dealing with at once, he said.
“Our study also showed that the more comorbid conditions an older adult living with HIV has, the lower their overall quality of life—and that’s over and above the impact of depression and substance use on quality of life,” Parsons, professor and director of the Hunter College Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST) at Hunter College in New York City, said.