HIV+, Gay or Lesbian and Ageing…a community-based response
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HIV+, Gay or Lesbian and Ageing…a community-based response

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This presentation was given by Russell Westacott (ACON) at the AFAO HIV Educators Conference, May 2010.

This presentation was given by Russell Westacott (ACON) at the AFAO HIV Educators Conference, May 2010.

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HIV+, Gay or Lesbian and Ageing…a community-based response HIV+, Gay or Lesbian and Ageing…a community-based response Presentation Transcript

  • HIV+, Gay or Lesbian and Ageing …a community-based response AFAO Educator’s Conference, Sydney
    • May 2010
    Russell Westacott Director of Client Services, ACON
  • ACON: Who are we?
    • NSW’s community-based response to HIV in 1985
    • Over the last decade the organization has broadened its response to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) health issues nonetheless HIV remains central
    • We work in the following areas of activities:
      • Policy and Advocacy
      • Community Health and Education
      • Client Service Delivery
      • Marketing and Fundraising
    • ACON has branch offices in Illawarra, Hunter, Mid-North Coast and Northern Rivers region of NSW
    • In 08/09 we provided services to around 4,000 people in the Sydney office alone around 2,000 are people with HIV
  • ACON: our response to GLBT and HIV ageing #1
    • Ageing Disgracefully: ACON strategy document 2006 – 2009
    • Mature Age Gays (MAG) has in excess of 1,000 members
    • HIV+ and ageing – some services are re-orienting where possible
  • ACON: our response to GLBT and HIV ageing #2
    • ACON’s Ageing Work Group:
      • Policy and Advocacy
      • Research
      • Funding possibilities
    • Re-orientation of ACON services such as the Community Support Network
    • Organisational lobbying at both State and Federal levels
  • ACON: our response to GLBT and HIV ageing #3
    • ACON, COTA NSW, TARS, Legal Aid NSW and partners will present an "older LGBT (incl. HIV+) people and the law" forum in Sydney and Katoomba in June.
      • Forum to cover same-sex rights as well as planning ahead legal issues like wills, enduring power of attorneys, and enduring guardianship appointments.
    • Community events, discussion forums and educational workshops
    • ACON has representation on the Management Committee of The Aged-care Rights Service (TARS)
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  • Growing older GLBT: client experiences
    • Isolation and loneliness
    • Dislocation from community
    • Real or perceived discrimination from service providers
    • Personal challenges in being openly gay or lesbian or ‘coming out’ in aged care settings
    • Challenges regarding being with same-sex partners and having these relationships recognized
  • Growing older gay and HIV+: ACON forums
    • Attracting 10 – 15 people per session; aged 47 – 69
    • Key themes
    • Rapid progression of ageing
    • Mental health and anxiety
    • Experiences of self-esteem
    • Legal issues
    • Resiliency; living longer-term with HIV
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  • Growing older GLBT: the research #1
    • In the general community people rely on family for support. Gay men ageing with HIV are often ostracized and have smaller to no friendship networks – McGrath, 2009
    • 3 year study with older G&L in UK found that 60% reported social isolation – Fannin, 2006
    • An Australian study reported that G&L seniors are much more likely to live alone, 46% vs 23% of hetero counterparts – Birch, 2009
    • 84% of older GLBT people report at least one experience of discrimination of abuse in health settings – McNair, 2003
  • Growing older GLBT: the research #2
    • Cycle of invisibility whereby consumers fear homophobia and mistreatment in aged-care settings – Harrison, 2006
    • Research indicates that GLBT elders are concerned about lack of relationship recognition and prejudice by carers in aged-care settings – Hughes, 2009
    • Gay men and lesbians report increased isolation and stereotyping as they grow older leading to increased alienation – Price, 2008
    • UK research reports that in excess of 40% of gay men and lesbians do not mention their sexual orientation to health care providers – Hinchliff and Galena, 2005
  • Growing older GLBT: research gaps
    • Firstly, there isn’t enough research. More needed.
    • Australian Bureau of Statistics should include sexuality indicators
    • ARCHSHS, NCHSR, NCHECR should be resourced to conduct research on GLBT ageing
    • The physical and psycho-social implications of growing older with HIV are not well understood
    • All levels of government should include GLBT data in current ageing service data
    • Department of Health and Ageing should include GLBT people or at the very least HIV+ people as one of its ‘special needs’ groups
  • Working towards the inclusion of GLBT and HIV in ageing responses
    • Need for HIV and GLBT sensitivity training in aged-care settings
    • Lack of inter-generational sharing within GLBT communities
    • Requirement for HIV awareness to be integrated into aged-care settings
    • Housing and accommodation programs to consider community connectedness for ageing GLBT people
    • Need to address ageism within the GLBT community
  • Central to HIV and GLBT inclusion and visibility
    • Government policy-makers and other service providers should focus on re-orienting services so that they also meet the needs of ageing GLBT people including people with HIV and this must happen in collaboration with the GLBT and HIV communities and their representative organisations
  • Further information…
    • Russell Westacott
    • ACON, Director of Client Services
    • Phone: +61 2 9206 2119
    • Email: rwestacott@acon.org.au