How The Effects Of HIV Are Different On Elderly Persons.
We have witnessed the rise in the number of older persons with HIV/AIDs in the recent past. This can be partly attributed to improved treatment options that help those with the disease live longer.
However, many older persons also get diagnosed with HIV yearly, and there are chances that more seniors could be living with the disease without knowing. While HIV may have similar effects on people regardless of their age, the effects may vary in older people.
In this post, we will uncover the difference of HIV effects on the elderly compared to other age groups. Read on for more about this.
Risks of HIV/AIDs on seniors.
Senior people undergo challenges that can complicate the usual risks of the infection. Older people mostly do not understand how the disease spreads and are highly likely to involve in unprotected sex.
Protection is not something widowed, and divorced seniors think of when they decide to start dating again. Also, older women don’t see the use of condoms since they know they cannot get pregnant.
Also, changes in women’s reproductive parts can increase the chances of getting HIV infection. And while they often visit their doctors, they are less likely to talk about their drug use and sexual habits. Doctors are also more reluctant to ask them about this information.
HIV affects people in different ways, so there is no standard sign to differentiate the effects. In elders, the symptoms can easily be mistaken as the normal aging process. Others may not realize the symptoms at first, while some may feel flu-like symptoms the first few days after getting infected, with the following:
On the flip side, the symptoms can be dormant for more than ten years before showing up. These signs include;
- Swollen glands.
- Weight loss.
- Loss of appetite.
- Short-term memory loss.
- Gut cramps.
- Sores on the mouth and genital areas, skin rashes, or frequent yeast infection.
It is important to get early HIV testing or screening if you think you have the infection. This is crucial since it will allow you to get early treatment and prevent it from developing to AIDs.
The tests are always free, and you can get tested at a clinic or doctor’s office, community health center, at the hospital, or use a self-testing kit.
Though it is not a normal part of aging, elder people are at increased risk of getting depressed. As people get old, they may have fewer family members and friends left in their lives, and it can be difficult for them to talk about their feelings. Therefore, they feel lonelier.
However, it is not only about being sad, lonely, and hopeless. Depression in seniors can also occur in the form of memory loss, hallucinations, and general complaints about pain.
People with HIV have a high chance of being depressed. HIV diagnosis can make it harder to speak to people if you’re are worried about what they might say or think about your status. You may also be less likely to get medical attention or seek help, even if they are available.
HIV Treatment In Older People.
HIV is a manageable condition. But since seniors get diagnosed later in life, the disease may have done more damage to their immune system.
After a positive HIV test result, it is advisable to an HIV doctor immediately, even if you don’t have a different feeling. This is vital because the age and treatment plan for seniors may require several medical experts to treat a range of mental and physical needs.
HIV also increases the chances of age-related complications such as thin bones, heart problems, certain cancers, and dementia. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, you need to take good care of yourself. Eat well, exercise regularly, keep a healthy weight, and quit smoking.
HIV affects people of all ages. However, symptoms and its effects may be different in elderly people.
Once diagnosed with HIV at an advanced age, it is important to keep in touch with your doctor on every symptom you develop and talk to people around you to avoid loneliness which can lead to depression.