HIV Treatment: The Challenges for Older Adults
Improved medications have helped many people with HIV live longer, but treating older adults with HIV presents some unique challenges. The challenges related to diagnosing HIV in older adults have been well documented. Both doctors and their patients can sometimes feel uncomfortable discussing risk factors, such as unprotected sex and injection drug use. Also, symptoms of HIV can mimic symptoms of other conditions common in older adults. Once a diagnosis is made, however, there are additional challenges for older adults with HIV and the doctors who treat them. The most effective combination of drugs can interact with medications these adults frequently take for a host of other conditions, such as high blood pressure.
Drug InteractionsThe protease inhibitors that are a critical part of treating HIV inhibit an enzyme in the liver that metabolizes other medications, raising the risk of drug interactions.Generally, your doctor will try to avoid prescribing drugs that interact. In some cases, that may not be possible since the drugs are necessary. HIV drugs increase the risk of certain conditions, such as high cholesterol and triglycerides, kidney stones, pancreatitis, and liver disease. Plus, the volume and range of medications that older people take also increases the risk of drug interaction.