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Maureen asked...

HIV medication for the elderly.

Tags: Diabetes

Can HIV medication be taken when the patient is over 65 years of age?

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The answer

Age is not an absolute reason on its own for not using the drugs currently available to treat HIV infection. In the last decade, the number of over 50s affected by HIV has continued to increase, and in countries like the USA it is estimated that half of people affected by HIV will be over 50, and the number of HIV infected people over 65 has grown tenfold in the last decade. That means that doctors now have much greater experience of treating over 65s with HIV medication.

Having said this, the likelihood of someone having other medical problems such as kidney, heart and liver disease or diabetes does increase with age. HIV medications have a wide variety of side effects and can affect the liver, kidneys, heart and pancreas. All these factors have to be taken into account in choosing and monitoring side effects from HIV treatments, and the treatment options for older people are more likely to be limited because some treatments cannot be used in people who have some of these medical conditions.

Answered by Dr Sarah Jarvis.


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