Psychosocial impact of HIV/aids diagnosis on elderly persons receiving care from a public healthcare service
Revista Brasileira de Geriatria e Gerontologia
The current increase in the number of elderly people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) represents a major challenge to healthcare professionals, public policies and the general population, in terms of the need to discuss the role of sexuality and sexual practices in the aging process and the impact of these issues on health promotion for the elderly. The aim of the present study was to identify the psychosocial impact of HIV/Aids diagnosis on elderly persons receiving care in
... s receiving care in a public healthcare service, based on the perception of the individuals themselves. A qualitative research study of an exploratory nature was performed, based on individual semi-structured interviews with HIV-positive elderly patients, living in the mid-west macro-region of Minas Gerais. Analysis of the results suggested that, according to the 14 patients interviewed, HIV diagnosis involves changes in the way they relate to people; in self-care; in sexual practices; in the performance of daily activities and in the possibility of continuing to participate in social groups. The patients reported embarrassment, fear of rejection and discrimination, and experiences of isolation and facing prejudice. Based on the results, it can be concluded that most of the problems faced by older people are linked to socially constructed stigmas and stereotypes associated with the disease and the efforts made by such individuals to keep the diagnosis a secret.