News

Well Beyond 50

Burnet Institute

30 November, 2021

The UNAIDS theme for World AIDS Day 2021 is ‘End inequalities. End AIDS’ with a special focus on reaching people left behind.

In this 40th year since the first official report of HIV/AIDS, Burnet Institute is helping to address inequalities in access to essential services with a new project to provide support and resources to people in Victoria living with HIV who are over the age of 50.

Well Beyond 50 is a website that brings together a wide range of resources providing social support, health information, and personal stories from people living with HIV in a hub that allows people to connect more readily.

The initiative is a partnership with Living Positive Victoria (LPV), Thorne Harbour Health and Alfred Health, with collaboration from Bolton Clarke and Positive Women Victoria.

Burnet Research Assistant Dean Cassano said there’s been growing recognition of the changing age profile among people living with HIV.

“There’s a need to extend the reach and the sustainability of programs and services available to people living with HIV over 50 who may not be as readily connected as some of their younger peers,” Mr Cassano said.

“The website was developed essentially to extend that reach and to connect people with some of the services that Living Positive Victoria, Thorne Harbour Health and others provide.”

Mr Cassano described how Well Beyond 50 caters for a broad cross-section of the community, including people who may have been living with HIV for many years, people who are newly diagnosed, and smaller populations such as women living with HIV.

“Sometimes people think that if you’re over 50 and HIV positive, that you must have been living with it for a very long time, but there are people in that age bracket who are newly diagnosed,” Mr Cassano said.

“I think the website opens up lots of possibilities for engagement with all populations.”

LPV Chief Executive Officer Richard Keane said Well Beyond 50 has an important role to provide support and information to extend people’s health literacy.

“Some of the health challenges that occur as you start to age are often magnified among people living with HIV, and there are complex issues around how HIV might impact comorbidities that are naturally connected to ageing for everybody,” Mr Keane said.

“I’m hoping that over the months and years ahead we’ll be able to build Well Beyond 50 to provide a whole range of information – not just on direct service delivery, but on research into HIV and ageing, social connectedness, mental health, and other important issues.”

Importantly, Mr Cassano believes one of the strengths of Well Beyond 50 is its authenticity.

“It represents people from the community, and it shows them meeting up at a cafe and catching up with friends – it shows people who have lived experience,” he said.

“There are a number of people in the community who have been very public-facing for a long time about living with HIV, and who were proud to stand up and talk about their experience, who feel it’s time to pass the baton on to somebody else.

Well Beyond 50 will have a role to play in this transition as well.

CLICK HERE to visit Well Beyond 50.

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year.

It raises awareness across the world and in the community about the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS and it’s a day for people to show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.

Staff Member

Program

Country

Health Issue

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Dean Cassano

Research Assistant

Email

dean.cassano@burnet.edu.au

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