St James’s Hospital launches first specialised clinic for older people living with HIV

The clinic for those aged 65 and older will help people living with HIV enjoy healthy and independent lives.

The exterior of a modern hospital building

St James’s Hospital has launched a first-of-its-kind specialised clinic aimed at patients aged 65 years or over living with HIV and who attend the hospital’s GUIDe Clinic.

The clinic’s aim is to help older People Living With HIV (PLWH) to enjoy healthy and independent lives as they age. The joint-care model will deliver advanced treatment plans and involve social prescribing – which is when patients are recommended a range of social activities to help them engage with society and keep active.

A recent report from St James’s Hospital described how the new Platinum Clinic is the result of a team up between the GUIDe Clinic and the hospital’s Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA); a collaboration between two specialist consultants, Dr Emma Devitt and Dr David Robinson.

Dr Emma Devitt, a consultant in HIV medicine, welcomed the new service saying, “This is a great new service for GUIDe clinic patients living with HIV. Many have lived through difficult times over the years with HIV/AIDS and associated stigma. They are now living very well on modern HIV treatment and we want to facilitate successful healthy living into older age.

“Considering HIV/AIDS was first described 40 years ago this month and so many million people died worldwide of the HIV pandemic, it is wonderful that People Living with HIV can now have a normal life expectancy with modern treatment.”

Dr David Robinson, a Consultant Physician in Geriatric Medicine outlined that, “Increased life span is one of the success stories of modern times, and so is the increased longevity of people living with HIV. The Platinum clinic will address syndromes common in ageing such as frailty or memory issues, but also the social circumstances of people, which can vary widely.”

Dr Robinson added that, “HIV can be associated with increased risk of osteoporosis or cognitive issues. Many people living with HIV didn’t expect to grow old, some are socially isolated, and many don’t have a good support network. An interdisciplinary clinic is a proven approach to address these needs.”

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