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Growing Older With HIV: What Concerns You Most?


Lillibeth Gonzalez

Lillibeth Gonzalez

Advocate, New York City

As I age with HIV (21 years positive) there are many concerns I have, for example vision, arthritis, osteoporosis, hypertension, depression, cognitive impairment, dementia, and lack of social support.

What worries me the most about HIV and aging is heart disease and cancer. In addition, older adults tend to smoke; cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, and other problems. As I age I worry that I might get a heart attack and stay paralyzed, or get breast cancer (it's hereditary on my maternal side), or get cancer in the lungs. Any type of cancer scares me.

I have been treating my HIV condition for 21 years. I do not want to have to deal with cancer since that will add another treatment regimen like chemo or radiation and the state of mind that brings can make one depressed.

HIV accelerates the aging process and magnifies its effects. That's why it's important that you as a patient maintain a great rapport with your health care provider, and get routine medical checkups for blood pressure, cholesterol, bone density, vision, hearing, etc.

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See Also
HIV Positive and Past 50: Words of Wisdom to My Newly Diagnosed, Younger Self
Robert Vazquez-Pacheco on Race, ACT UP and Why Older HIV/AIDS Leaders Need to Pass the Torch
Issues That Divide Expert Opinion: When to Start, HIV and Aging and the Impact of HIV on Life Expectancy
The Golden Girls (and Boys): What It's Really Like to Grow Older With HIV/AIDS, Part 1
The Graying of AIDS: Portraiture and Stories From an Aging Epidemic
World AIDS Day 2013: Features and News


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