On Tuesday 19th April, two Scottish HIV charities are to host a free conference in Edinburgh for over-50s living with HIV and those with a professional interest in the issue. The aim of the conference, a joint venture between Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland (THT Scotland) and Waverley Care, is to address and discuss challenges facing over-50s living with HIV, who are the fastest growing demographic of people with the condition in the UK. Over 1,000 people currently living with HIV in Scotland are over 50.

The Positive Ageing Conference will take place at the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh from 9.30am – 4.00pm. This event is part of the Positive Scotland initiative, a project delivered by THT Scotland and Waverley Care and funded by the Big Lottery Fund, with a focus on helping people living with HIV, across Scotland, to successfully manage their condition.

The conference will consist of a morning of presentations by people living with HIV, older people and those who work with them, and an afternoon of workshops focusing on four themes:

Money, housing and finance for people as they get older
The physical and mental impact of ageing with HIV
Sexual health, sexual identity, and sexual lives
Disclosure and discrimination and integration into older people’s services.
Alison Lord, Centre Manager for THT in Glasgow, said: “The over-50s are the fastest growing group of people living with HIV in the UK. Some are newly diagnosed and others have been living with HIV for years but never envisaged they would live this long. This presents a unique set of challenges for those living with HIV in succesfully managing their condition.

“Research conducted by THT has shown that not only are over-50s living with HIV more likely to experience other long-term health problems than others in their age group, they are also far more likely to be financially and socially disadvantaged. The Positive Scotland project aims to provide a lifeline to this group, and we hope the conference will encourage a greater focus on the issues they face.”

David Johnson, Director of Waverley Care, said: “In our 21 years of supporting people in Scotland who are living with HIV, we have remained responsive to people’s changing needs and we are pleased, through Positive Scotland, to be offering this conference to help us look at this emerging area of HIV care. The general issues of growing older are magnified for those living with HIV, with concerns about physical and emotional health always sitting within the context of living with a stigmatised condition.”

The conference is open to people living with HIV and also people involved in the planning, commissioning or delivery of older people’s services or HIV services. To view the full conference programme, please visit www.waverleycare.org.

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