J Int AIDS Soc. 2021 Oct;24(10):e25785. doi: 10.1002/jia2.25785.
INTRODUCTION: People living with HIV (PLHIV) who use illicit drugs (other than or in addition to cannabis) are living longer due to antiretroviral therapy (ART). Older PLHIV who use drugs have an increased risk for comorbidities, and managing multiple health conditions is a growing concern among this population. However, in-depth understandings of the lived realities and complexities of living with HIV alongside comorbidities among older PLHIV who use drugs remain limited. We sought to explore how older PLHIV who use drugs manage their comorbid conditions in a setting with universal ART access.
METHODS: Between January 2019 and March 2020, semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted in Vancouver, Canada with 42 older PLHIV who use drugs and were living with at least one comorbidity. All participants were currently on ART, and had initiated treatment at least 2 years prior to the interviews. Data were analysed using inductive and deductive approaches.
RESULTS: Several themes were identified through this analysis. First, comorbidities were perceived as more urgent health concerns and prioritized over HIV. Second, stigma and discrimination hindered access to care for comorbidities. Third, the concurrent management of HIV and comorbidities was often challenging due to unmanaged or poorly managed comorbidities. Fourth, the potential impact of ART on the development of comorbidities was a source of concern and frustration. Finally, integrated treatment approaches facilitated engagement with HIV and comorbidities care.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings underscore the need for HIV care to shift from a primary focus on managing HIV to an integrated, patient-centred approach that addresses both HIV and non-HIV-related health needs, as well as an equitable and non-judgemental delivery of such care for an ageing population of PLHIV who use drugs.
Source: ncbi 2