Women’s experiences of ageing with HIV in London

Stevenson, Jacqui; Keogh, Peter; Smith, John and West, Elizabeth (2017). Women’s experiences of ageing with HIV in London. HIV Nursing, 17(4) pp. 134–138.


Out of a total of 101,200 people living with HIV (PLWH) in the UK 31,600 (31%) are women and in 2016, women aged ≥50 years comprised 24.5% of the total from this age cohort in the UK. People ageing with HIV potentially may face social and medical challenges, associated with ageing generally, added to or amplified by HIV. These may include social and economic issues, managing treatment, side effects and comorbidities, social isolation, stigma and discrimination. This experience may be different for women compared to men. Differing social norms and expectations of ageing, differences in the biological experience of ageing, the menopause transition, and the form and impact of HIV stigma and discrimination, are all impacted by gender and gender norms. In addition, women are often under-represented in mixed studies, and some studies on ageing do not disaggregate findings by gender, so the experiences of women are under explored in the literature.

This article presents findings from a study exploring the experiences of women growing older with HIV in London. Using feminist, participatory and assets-based methods, we explore how women are responding and adapting to ageing with HIV, with a specific focus on community, participation, social support, and social and healthcare needs and experiences. The overall research comprises six overlapping phases: literature review; participatory literature review; creative workshops policy review; stakeholder interviews; life story interviews; and participatory analysis workshops. Findings from the creative workshops and stakeholder interviews are presented in this article.

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