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Dr Stella Safo Outlines Challenges Associated With Aging HIV Populations

From the health system perspective, there needs to be improvement in treating HIV as a comprehensive disease that now goes into aging, explained Stella A. Safo, MD, assistant professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.


From the health system perspective, there needs to be improvement in treating HIV as a comprehensive disease that now goes into aging, explained Stella A. Safo, MD, assistant professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Transcript

With the advent of antiretroviral therapy, people living with HIV are living longer. With aging HIV populations, what challenges are there in treating patients with comorbidities, such as cancer?

I love my patient panel. I love seeing patients who, when they were in their early 20s and were diagnosed, thought they would be dead within years. Now they’re in their 50s and 60s and still going strong. One of the biggest challenges, I would say, comes from both a health system but also from the patients. From the health system perspective, I think we are still a little bit not so great about treating HIV as a comprehensive disease that now goes into aging.

From the patient perspective, I have patients who really believed they would be dead in a few years and so when you talk about things like other chronic disease management, like diabetes and smoking cessation, they have a feeling that their HIV is going to be the thing that impacts them anyway. So, there’s a little bit less of a sense of stopping some of the negative behaviors that have really been a problem for them. I think because of that, the behavioral change I do with some of these patients can be a little bit difficult.

 
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