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The Relevance of Palliative Care in HIV and Aging

Journal title
Interdisciplinary topics in gerontology and geriatrics
Publication year
Shorthill, J.; DeMarco, R. F.

The connection between palliative care and HIV infection has deep and wide roots in the United States that go back to the time when many gay men in the early 1980s were dying from a disease we knew little about, and there was no way to help but to alleviate symptoms in hospice and end of life centers across the United States. More individuals (adults and children), families, and communities attribute the success of antiretroviral therapies and other therapeutic approaches to advancing quality of life and life itself today. The identity of HIV, like many ‘life-threatening illness with no cure’ has evolved as a ‘chronic’ condition with a longer time period to address physical, social, and emotional experiences that may concern those living with HIV infection. Chronic conditions create an opportunity for healthcare providers from all types of disciplines to rethink and retool their knowledge and skills, to have conversations with those affected by HIV infection as to what they would ideally want in addressing their care needs; care needs that are now complicated by comorbid conditions of aging and healthcare reimbursement that uniquely intersect with HIV infection. This chapter addresses the current relevance of palliative care in HIV history, both nationally and internationally, and offers ideas for health professionals to use a multidisciplinary integration of knowledge to not just cure but align ‘cure and care’ toward healing action while being present to others from their perspective and values.

Research abstracts