The Diverse Older HIV-positive Population

A National Profile of Economic Circumstances, Social Support, and Quality of Life

Published in: Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, v. 33, no. 2, suppl. 2, June 1, 2003, p. S76-S83

by Stephen Crystal, Ayse Akincigil, Usha Sambamoorthi, Neil S. Wenger, John Fleishman, David Zingmond, Ron D. Hays, Samuel A. Bozzette, Martin F. Shapiro

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

The objectives of this study were to provide a national profile of socioeconomic circumstances of the middle-aged and older population living with HIV and to evaluate variations in social support and quality of life (QOL) across age and socioeconomic subgroups, controlling for indicators of disease progression. The design used was a cross-sectional analysis of nationally representative interview data on HIV-infected individuals collected in the HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study. Multiple measures of social support and QOL were used. Bivariate comparisons of outcomes across categories of age and exposure category were performed; multivariate analyses to isolate the effect of older age on outcomes within exposure categories were performed, controlling for socioeconomic and clinical co-variates. Study results indicate that older gay men with HIV/AIDS are a predominantly white population and more likely to have health insurance than their younger counterparts; 38% were employed and 48% reported incomes of more than $25,000. Older injection drug users (IDUs) with HIV/AIDS are a predominantly black population with a particularly high concentration of disadvantages; only 11% were employed and 74% reported incomes of less than $10,000. Older IDUs reported especially low levels of physical functioning and emotional support in comparison with their younger counterparts, whereas older gay men did not significantly differ from younger gay men in these respects. The authors conclude that characteristics and care needs of the older HIV-positive population are very diverse and vary sharply by exposure route. Interventions need to be tailored to the needs of these distinct subpopulations, with an emphasis on development of supportive care interventions for older IDUs

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.