Presentation at International HIV Conference

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Posted on 22 July 2013

Dr Dana Rosenfeld, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and member of Keele's Centre for Social Gerontology, attended the 2nd International Conference for the Social Sciences and Humanities in HIV in Paris.

The conference, whose theme was 'knowing practices' related to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, opened with a keynote address by Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine for her discovery of the virus now known as HIV.

Dr Rosenfeld's presentations drew on data gathered for the Life Long Health and Wellbeing Cross Council Programme funded study entitled HIV and Later Life (HALL), on which she serves as Principal Investigator. Both papers consider how a range of actors affected by ageing with HIV (the proportion of those aged 50+ living with HIV is expected to rise to 50% within the next few years) understand the phenomenon and its community context.

The first presentation used analysis of interviews with 17 stakeholders in the UK's HIV and/or ageing arenas to uncover their construction of composite 'ideal types' of the UK's Black African, white heterosexual, and gay male communities, distinguished by their relative openness, coherence, and solidarity around HIV. These ideal types may direct those working within the complex and changing world of HIV to seemingly clear fields of action and interpretation.

The second paper explored how HIV stakeholders and people living with HIV (PLWH) aged 50+ understand and experience the interplay between HIV and ageing. While clinicians and scientists constructed this interplay as a temporary intellectual puzzle, HIV service providers and policy makers, and older PLWH, understood this interplay as an anxiety-provoking source of chronic uncertainty introducing concerns over premature aging and mortality, and difficulties of distinguishing between, and seeking appropriate medical help for, symptoms of HIV and of 'normal' ageing.

Both papers highlighted the uncertainties regarding ageing with HIV, as well as how those living with HIV and/or working in the HIV arenas manage them in their personal and professional lives