Back to Life, Positively 2015 Index…

“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”

Thanks to major advances in antiretroviral therapies, many people diagnosed with HIV are living much longer than they expected.

In fact, this is the first generation of people with HIV and AIDS to reach retirement age.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than half of all HIV-positive Americans will be 50 years and older before the end of this year.

Anne Donnelly, a regular contributor to HIV Positive! magazine, mentions the figure in an article posted to the magazine’s website earlier this year.

“Aging and living with HIV is fast becoming an issue for tens of thousands of people,” she writes. “Today, many more people living with HIV are able to enjoy a more productive life, as well as continue to work and even retire at some point.”

Donnelly also writes that many living with HIV never expected to reach retirement age and, as a result, still have yet to prepare for their golden years.

“They now find themselves happy to be healthy and productive, but facing real fears about their lifestyles, incomes and health care as they grow older,” she writes.

The post, headlined “What should I be thinking about as I get closer to being 65?,” offers advice on everything from financial planning to change in residency.

“The most productive thing you can do is to prepare as much ahead of time as possible for your 60s and 70s, and definitely a few or more years before you retire or before you turn 65,” Donnelly writes. “It’s wise to take as much time as possible to explore your options as well as to educate and advocate for yourself before these changes take place.”

Donnelly also addresses the importance of preparing for healthcare needs and services, especially for those who plan to relocate to a retirement destination.

Photo Credit: gstockstudio via Dollar Photo Club
Photo Credit: gstockstudio via Dollar Photo Club

According to a Newsweek article from September 2014, research has shown that older HIV-positive individuals face a higher risk for developing cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Neurological problems like dementia are also more likely, affecting concentration, memory, decision making, coordination, motor skills, language and sensory perception.

“A lot of people move either by choice or necessity after their retirement,” she writes. “There are several things to consider before you take that leap. One is your doctor or medical provider. Even if you’re not moving out of your home or move just a town away, you may not be able to keep your current doctor because he or she is not in the Medicare plan you choose when you turn 65. Think about what hospitals and other types of services and facilities are available to you.”

Financial planning is also important for anyone entering the golden years.

An article posted to in January 2014, headlined “Financial Planning for the HIV Positive,” notes that New York Life Insurance Company is one of the first insurance companies to launch a program to assist HIV-positive individuals in planning for their financial future and retirement.

“Dubbed ‘Positive Planning,’ this first-of-its-kind program is helmed by Aaron Baldwin, an HIV-positive agent based in New York Life’s San Francisco office,” the article reads. “For Baldwin, 46, launching this new project seemed like a natural extension of the Fortune 100 company’s mission, which is, according to its website, ‘to provide financial security and peace of mind.’ Yet considering that for decades HIV-positive people were refused insurance products, the move from a corporate America stalwart is a remarkable one.”