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#11: Growing older with HIV

On this World AIDS Day, the IAS calls on the HIV response to put communities first. This episode of HIV unmuted, the award-winning IAS podcast, puts the spotlight on a specific community that is often overlooked: people growing older with HIV.

Remarkable strides in medicine and science have transformed the HIV response since the impact of AIDS-related illnesses in the 1980s, which claimed many lives prematurely.

Thanks to access to life-saving treatments and proper care, it is now possible for people living with HIV to live into old age – something that was inconceivable 40 years ago. 

Globally, UNAIDS estimates a significant increase in people aged 50 years or older living with HIV – from 5.6 million in 2015 to 9.4 million in 2022. This generation now faces unprecedented and unique HIV-related health issues.

In this special episode, we hear from people who have been living with HIV for more than 20 years, unravel the scientific dimensions of ageing, and discover how we can put communities first in the HIV response to address the challenges of growing older with HIV.

On this World AIDS Day, we will never forget those we have lost in the HIV response, and we will never truly address the issues of growing older with HIV until we put communities first.

For more information, go to our World AIDS Day page.

Meet our guests:

  • Jules Levin, Founder of the National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project, offers a first-hand perspective on navigating four decades living with HIV.

  • Reena Rajasuriar, Associate Professor at the University of Malaya and principal investigator for the Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS at the University of Malaya, unpacks the scientific complexities of the ageing process for people living with HIV.

  • Lillian Mworeko, Executive Director at the International Community of Women living with HIV Eastern Africa and advocate from Uganda who has been living with HIV for 25 years, shares insights on prioritizing communities.

Listen here

Guest bios

Jules Levin

Jules Levin

Jules Levin is the founder and Executive Director of the National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project (NATAP), a leader in HIV and hepatitis conference reporting. The NATAP website, established in 1996, was the first to hold press credentials for CROI; it now receives 2.5 to 3 million monthly hits. Jules has led on policy for ageing and HIV for 17 years; he recognized the issue years ago and advocated across communities and stakeholders. Jules is 74 and has been living with HIV for 39 years. In 2001, he became one of the first people to be cured of an HCV co-infection. Through NATAP's work, Jules initiated an HCV/HIV co-infection policy nationally and locally in the USA. 

Reena Rajasuriar

Reena Rajasuriar

Reena Rajasuriar is an Associate Professor at the Department of Medicine, University of Malaya, a Principal Investigator at the Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS, University of Malaya, and an Honorary Fellow at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne University, Australia. She was awarded her PhD in immunology by Monash University Australia. Reena coordinates the translational research programme in HIV immunology and ageing at the Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS (CERiA) and heads the Immunotherapeutics Laboratory at the University of Malaya. Her research focuses on the immunopathogenesis of ageing in people living with HIV and its interaction with functional ageing outcomes. 

Lillian Mworeko

Lillian Mworeko

Lillian Kyomuhangi Mworeko is the Executive Director at the International Community of Women living with HIV Eastern Africa. She drives strategic direction and operations with a focus on global health. As a dedicated advocate, she has led initiatives for affordable, life-saving medicines and played pivotal roles in global partnerships, such as co-leading the technical group on ending HIV-related stigma and discrimination with UNAIDS. She has been recognized with accolades, such as the CHANGE Courageous Changemaker Award. Lillian embodies leadership in advancing women's health and human rights, fighting for equitable access to treatment, care, and prevention services.