In a landmark initiative marking World AIDS Day on 1 December 2023, Positive Women Inc., in collaboration with Māori, key HIV sector agencies and people living with HIV, proudly announce the public launch of the Ngā Taipakeke o te Urutā HIV – Ageing with HIV Research Report.
Shifting Perspectives on Ageing with HIV
More than two decades since the advent of effective HIV treatment, the landscape has transformed from HIV once being a deadly disease, to a manageable chronic condition.
Today, people living with HIV can anticipate a lifespan equivalent to people who do not have HIV. Subsequently, a staggering 61% of people living with HIV in Aotearoa are over the age of 50, with projections indicating an increase to 72% by 2030.
International research indicates those in their fifties living with HIV, are classified as ‘older’ adults, facing unique challenges due to a naturally aging immune system. However, despite being able to lead long, healthy lives, this demographic tends to age faster, Increasing the risk of age-related comorbidities.
Existing reports, including the Aotearoa New Zealand People Living with HIV Stigma Index (2020), NZ Aged Care Association (2022), and the Office of the Auditor-General (2014), highlight critical deficiencies in support services and workforce capabilities to provide for the ageing HIV population.
Contrary to the principles of the Government’s Better Later Life – He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034 strategy, which emphasizes recognizing diversity and uniqueness, current data reveals a stark absence of surveillance, research, or tailored workforce training for the specific needs of the growing population of people ageing with HIV.
Ngā Taipakeke o te Urutā HIV – A Revolutionary Approach
The Ngā Taipakeke o te Urutā HIV – Ageing with HIV Research is not merely a research report; it is a revolutionary approach to understanding and addressing the unique challenges faced by those ageing with HIV. Jane Bruning, National Coordinator of Positive Women Inc., emphasizes “the project’s distinctive features are that is it community led”. Bruning adds “from project inception, to compiling the report, Māori, people living with HIV, and HIV sector agencies have played pivotal roles in every aspect of the research. This seamlessly aligns with the 2023 World AIDS Day theme of “LET COMMUNITIES LEAD.”
This community-led qualitative research was grounded in the Māori model of practice, te Hā. “Māori voices have been missing in the HIV sector for many years”, says Milly Stewart, Pou Tahuhu of Toitū te Ao, a kaupapa Māori HIV Support organisation. “Working collaboratively on this project highlighted that Māori and non-Māori are able to work together without prejudice for a greater cause and to ensure the voices of Māori are also heard”. By amplifying the voices and perspectives of the HIV community, the research delves deep into the distinct needs and experiences of those ageing with HIV and offers a comprehensive understanding of the challenges, needs, and aspirations of people ageing with HIV in Aotearoa New Zealand
Key findings lead to the identification of 4 main themes and 13 subthemes. See image 2. Each of these have intrinsically been analysed and are accompanied by recommendations in the report.
A Call to Action
Bruning urges the Aged Care sector to delve into the report, which not only highlights key recommendations and priorities but serves as a roadmap for readiness. The insights presented are crucial to guaranteeing the health, well-being, and mana of people ageing with HIV, not just to survive HIV, but to thrive with HIV.
Availability of the Report
Click here to access the Ngā Taipakeke o te Urutā HIV – Ageing with HIV Report Hard copies can be ordered though firstname.lastname@example.org