Due to effective HIV treatment, the life spans of people with HIV are ever longer. In the United Kingdom, the average age of people living with HIV has been rising for several years. Doctors and researchers are working out what this will mean for clinical care. There are many medical conditions which are commonly experienced in older age and which may occur a little earlier in people living with HIV than in other people. Managing these medical conditions, as well as HIV, will be an important component of healthcare for people living with HIV (PLWH).
The extra medical conditions (co-morbidities, in doctors’ language) include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. It also includes depression, cognitive impairment, bone fractures and incontinence. Half of all people living with HIV will need to take at least one other long-term drug alongside their HIV treatment. Doctors will need to check that these drugs can be safely taken together. Some commonly-used drugs for treating some of these conditions other than HIV can interfere negatively with the anti-retroviral drugs used to treat HIV.
If you are on HIV treatment and you are also taking medicines for another health condition, it’s important to check for drug-drug interactions. Each doctor you see needs to know about all the medicines you are taking.