Brian Conway, MD, FRCPC
Centre for Excellence HIV/AIDS,
Assistant Professor, Pharmacology & Therapeutics,
University of British Columbia
Recently, the bulk of media attention has fallen on the global HIV pandemic, and on the impact it is having in Africa. In North America, although AIDS is still predominantly a disease of young adults, an aging but relatively healthy population of HIV positive individuals is slowly becoming a cohort of HIV positive elderly. A review of recent medical literature reveals few, if any, articles that deal with AIDS in elderly patients. The absence of research in this field will mean a medical community that is unprepared to treat and diagnose HIV in an older population. Consequently, elderly patients may not receive the degree of care and attention that they deserve. At Geriatrics & Aging, we strive to cover the latest medical developments and issues, even those that may be somewhat controversial. This month we are proud to present an article contributed by Dr. Brian Conway, an international leader in the field of HIV research, on how HIV is 'moving up the age ladder'.
Although it may be assumed that the HIV epidemic is waning, it must be remembered that by the end of 1999 there were still over 33 million adults and children living with HIV/AIDS throughout the world.1 Of these, the vast majority (32.4 million or so) are adults. In the United States, there are over 400,000 adults/adolescents living with this disease.