Fears over HIV in old age

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More needs to be done to help people living into older age with HIV, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Around a fifth of all people in the UK who are HIV positive are now aged 50 and over, but there is often a lack of training for health care workers and a lack of knowledge among the public, said the RCN on the eve of its annual congress in Liverpool.

Nursing staff will be debating the issue of HIV awareness at the event today.

Ian Lamb, 61, lives in Blackpool with his partner.

He was diagnosed with HIV in 1996, at the age of 42.

He said: “The attitudes towards HIV haven’t really changed in some parts of the country from when I was first diagnosed 20 years ago - it is just more subtle and less noticeable now.

“After 20 years I still have to be careful who I tell or what I say.”

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN said: “Nursing staff are seeing an increasing number of older people with HIV and too often they can see that the system is failing them.

“Many nurses also feel that they could be better used to help older people with HIV by coordinating care and reducing the stress of dealing with multiple conditions.