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Profiling Older Adults Living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto

September 29, 2009

Charles Emlet (left) and David Brennan, University of Toronto.

Charles A. Emlet is an associate professor of Social Work at UW Tacoma. He has worked as both a practitioner and research in aging and HIV since the 1980s.

Similar to the epidemiological trends of the United States, Canada is experiencing increasing numbers of adults, age 50 and over, living with HIV disease. This increase is due not only to growing numbers of new infections among older adults, but to the increased longevity of people living with HIV/AIDS as a result of the success of HIV medications. While some epidemiological data exists on this population throughout Canada, little is known about the psychosocial and health related issues of this emerging population.

Dr. Charles Emlet from the University of Washington, Tacoma is teaming up with Dr. David Brennan from the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto to explore these factors. Drs. Emlet and Brennan met at the University of Toronto this August to plan an initial study of older adults living with HIV/AIDS in the Greater Toronto area. Collaboration with community-based partners is part of the plan. The researchers hope to gather data on the demographic profile of older adults with HIV/AIDS, as well as obtain data on psychosocial issues such as stigma, depression, substance abuse and health related issues such as access to medical care, comorbidity and medication adherence. This research could make great strides in understanding the needs and issues of this population beyond simple demographic characteristics. The researchers are coordinating with long standing community-based HIV providers, such as Casey House, in their efforts. It is hoped that such a project can get off the ground in the next 6-12 months.

This project was supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

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