a1 Département de sexologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada.
a2 School of Social Work, McGill University, Montréal, Canada.
The population of people aged 50 and over represents a significant proportion of people living with HIV in Western nations. While the number of older people living with HIV is rapidly increasing in Canada, research originating in this country remains relatively scarce. This article therefore proposes to describe the impact of the intersection of HIV and ageing on the identities and lived experiences of people living with HIV of 50 and over (PLHIV50+), both on an individual and social level, in order to offer a picture of their lived experience. Using a phenomenological approach, nine semi-structured individual interviews with PLHIV50+ (men and women) were undertaken. Data analysis identified several central themes which constituted the essence of their experience of the intersection of HIV and ageing, such as the experience of premature ageing, the impact of HIV on intergenerational relationships, the shrinking of one's social network, rejection experienced by the older population, a difficult return to work and a deterioration in living conditions. The results of this research highlight the many challenges faced by PLHIV50+, on physical, relational, work and economic levels. Even though some of the problems faced by PLHIV50+ were related to the experience of corporal changes and a deterioration of health, our research was able to highlight the societal and structural factors underlying the stigma of HIV and ageing.
(Accepted May 10 2012)