Older people with HIV
This catalogue of services is created for PLHIV who are 50+ years old however it is suitable for all PLHIV who are in need of age care services. Click on your state.
The National Association of People Living with HIV Australia (NAPWHA)
The National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) is Australia’s peak non-government organisation representing community-based groups of PLHIV across Australia.
NAPWHA provides advocacy, policy, health promotion, effective representation, and outreach on a national level. Our work includes a range of health and education initiatives that promote the highest quality standard of care for HIV-positive people. Our vision is a world where all people with HIV can reach their full potential free from stigma and discrimination.
The focus that NAPWHA has on older PLHIV is continuously evolving, and includes:
- Participation in research and conferences e.g. Resilient ageing and end-of-life planning among people living with HIV.
- HIV and Ageing – The New Frontier, a seminal report providing a solid evidence base on international and Australian literature focusing on HIV and ageing, including suggestions for the next phase of national focused work, see
- Older PLHIV Engagement Reference Group, including a My Aged Care Working Group.
Aged Care Services
My Aged Care is the single entry point to the aged care system irrespective of where in Australia you live.
The design of the new system breaks down traditional distinctions between home care, residential care and hospital care; and between the care that is provided by informal unpaid carers and formal service providers.
The first step to access government-funded aged care services is to check for eligibility for an assessment.
If there are difficulties online the My Aged Care team can provide support over the phone: 1800 200 422
If the application is successful, the person is referred for an assessment that is done in person at home.
Care provided in the home
Strongly in favour of supporting older Australians to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, access to home-based support services for older people and their carers is provided through the Commonwealth Home Support Program.
Through the assessment process described earlier, consumers have access to the Home Care Packages Program, which provide four levels of support:
- Home Care Level 1 – basic care needs
- Home Care Level 2 – low level care needs
- Home Care Level 3 – intermediate care needs
- Home Care Level 4 – high care needs
Any person with a permanent residential aged care approval may be admitted to any residential aged care place, subject to availability and the provider’s agreement. Residents may be asked to pay daily fees and contribute to their accommodation costs – fees and payments vary depending on residents’ individual financial circumstances.
This refers to care for older people who have been in hospital and need extra time to recover. The care can be provided in the patient’s own home, in hospital, or in a residential aged care home. Depending on needs, eligible services include physiotherapy, podiatry, access to a social worker, nursing support (such as wound care), and personal care (showering, toileting, dressing).
Aged care services through My Aged Care can help people to stay as comfortable as possible during this final stage of life. Aged care providers can also help them access specialist palliative care services if needed. Users do not have to be receiving aged care services to access palliative care services. Support is also available for families and carers.
HIV-specific medical care: ASHM
he Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM). The focus of ASHM’s work is training for doctors in Australia and New Zealand, who which to become qualified to treat HIV. Once qualified these doctors are called ‘S100 prescribers’ are eligible to prescribe HIV medications to people with HIV.
ASHM also provides training and support for a range of health care professionals in Hepatitis and other BBV, sexual and reproductive health.
ASHM has expanded it’s interest to include training to enhance workforce capacity and strengthen health systems to address stigma and barriers to care, including Registered Nurses, Mental Health professional and peer workers who work in HIV.
As a trusted community of practice, we provide resources, training, conferences, and advocacy. Join us in eliminating harm, improving wellbeing, and protecting diverse communities.
Please follow this link to read more ASHM’s work: ashm.org.au
HIV in ageing for aged care and community nurses online learning module: Directed at aged care and community nurses, this online learning module has been designed as an introduction to HIV, with a focus on the health challenges of HIV in ageing. It is one hour in duration, with completion of this educational activity entitles eligible participants to claim 1 CPD hour.
The Australasian Sexual Health and HIV Nurses Association (ASHHNA) is a professional organisation for nurses and nurse practitioners involved in working with PLHIV.
Geriatric medicine is a medical speciality focusing on the health of older people. ANZSGM (see https://anzsgm.org/) is the peak professional society for geriatricians and other medical practitioners with an interest in the medical care of older people. As with ASHM, this society is a speciality group within the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP).
Geriatricians work in hospitals, clinics and residential aged care facilities. They might also visit people in their homes. Generally accessed through referral from a GP, geriatricians might help patients to manage:
- Dementia and other cognitive problems
- Problems with mobility and frailty
- Other medical issues
Geriatricians conduct a comprehensive assessment to help them understand patients’ physical and mental conditions, as well as their social situations. They might also put together a management plan or healthcare plan to help keep their patients as healthy and as independent as possible. They may themselves refer their patients to other specialists and to support services.
Read more about what a Geriatrician does
In addition to receiving HIV-specific medical care through S100 providers, older PLHIV with comorbidities are likely to receive medical care, and care coordination, through general practice.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is Australia’s largest professional general practice organisation. It seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of all people in Australia by supporting GPs, general practice registrars and medical students through its principal activities of education, training and research; and by assessing doctors’ skills and knowledge, supplying ongoing professional development. It is accredited through the Australian Medical Council (AMC).
Since medical practice as particular issues in regional, rural and remote areas, many GPs in these parts of Australia may become members of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM). As with the RACGP, ACCRM is accredited by the AMC for setting professional medical standards for training, assessment, certification and continuing professional development in the specialty of general practice. What makes it unique is that it is the only College in Australia dedicated to rural and remote medicine.
ACCRM provides training and support to aspiring and experienced rural GPs and to Rural Generalists – highly skilled GPs who specialise in providing a broad scope of practice, including Aboriginal and Torres Strat Islander health, anaesthetics, emergency medicine, mental health obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics surgery, palliative care and more.
Primary health networks
Primary Health Networks (PHNs) are independent organisations within regions/jurisdictions that are closely aligned to State/Territory Local Hospital Networks or their equivalent. Aged care is one of several priority areas of work for PHNs, which are operated by not-for-profit companies. PHNs have skills-based boards that receive advice from clinical councils and community advisory committees, and make their decisions independent of government.
PHNs do not provide health services themselves. They:
- Commission health services to meet the needs of people in their regions and address gaps in primary health care
- Work closely with general practitioners (GPs) and other health professionals to build the capacity of the health workforce capacity to deliver high-quality care.
- Integrate health services at the local level to create a better experience for people, encourage better use of health resources, and eliminate service duplication.
At a basic level, PHNs focus on how an individual experiences health care – access to care, its efficiency, effectiveness and quality – as well as the degree of connectedness experienced by patients when navigating the health system, whether it is fragmented or seamless. Through assessing the health care needs of their community and commissioning health services to meet those needs, PHNs help to minimise gaps or duplication. They support health services to connect with each other to improve people’s care and strengthen the primary health care system.
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO)
AFAO has a website, called Your Body Blueprint that is designed to provide accessible, clear information to assist PLHIV to make informed decisions on how to lead healthier lives. It explains the various important body systems that can be affected by HIV infection and anti-HIV treatments, and the health benefits that can be achieved by taking prompt action.
The website also explains how different areas of social life can have an impact on health, and gives some tips to consider. In particular:
HIV can cause a range of complications as you get older that you might not otherwise experience or ageing conditions that occur earlier than expected. You can get a better understanding of the long-term effects of HIV and HIV medications.
Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN)
The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is funded by the Australian Government. It comprises nine state and territory members organisations that help people to work through issues with their aged care. Consistent with the vision of the aged care sector’s Aged Care Diversity Framework, its work aims for all older people to experience a high quality aged care system that ensures equitable access and outcomes and embraces their diverse characteristics and life experiences.
Network members offer free, independent and confidential support and information to older people seeking or already using Australian Government-funded aged care services across the nation, along with their families and carers. They can give people advice to find the right aged care services for them and help them understand and exercise their rights and stay connected to the people they care about.
Telephone: 1800 700 600 from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays