People with HIV are living longer lives today. We really have come a long way since June 5, 1981, when the first reported cases of what would come to be known as AIDS were reported. Even with effective HIV treatment, as people get older and develop age-related conditions, staying healthy with HIV can be complex. This is one of the reasons June 5 is HIV Long-Term Survivors Day, a celebration to honor long-term survivors and raise awareness of their needs and issues.
Because treatment does not fully restore the immune system, which fights off disease, people with HIV sometimes develop complex conditions that require additional care. For instance, hepatitis C, cancer, and diseases of the cardiovascular system, kidneys, bones, and liver—are more common in people living with HIV. Keeping up healthy behaviors isn’t easy when trying to juggle medical and lab appointments, track symptoms, take medications corrections, and just live life.
In addition, ongoing pain is a significant problem that affects a large portion of people living with HIV. Research published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases recommends a variety of non-drug options to manage pain, such as yoga, physical therapy, and working with a mental health counselor. And, of course, healthy eating and exercise are important.
Coordinated Care Counts
Making sure people with HIV get the care they need, when they need it, is essential. Care coordination, provided by health plans such as Amida Care in New York City, provides members with comprehensive care to help people manage HIV and multiple chronic conditions and support each person’s unique health needs and goals.
By working closely with members and surrounding them with a dedicated integrated care team of providers, social workers, health navigators, behavioral health specialists, and a designated health home, Amida Care has been highly successful in helping people with HIV achieve better health and quality of life. Each member receives individual attention and support, which sometimes can include housing referrals, job training, and monthly members events that feature topics such as healthy cooking, art therapy, yoga, and African and Latin dance.
Amida Care currently serves 6,800+ members throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including people living with HIV/AIDS; people of transgender experience, regardless of HIV status, and people who are experiencing homelessness, regardless of HIV status. Confidential answers are available at 1-855-GO-AMIDA (1-855-462-6432) (TTY 711).