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Socio-demographic Profile of Older Adults with HIV/AIDS: Gender and Sexual Orientation Differences*

  • David J. Brennan (a1), Charles A. Emlet (a2), Sarah Brennenstuhl (a3), Sergio Rueda (a4) and OHTN Cohort Study Research Team and Staff...

Using data collected by the Ontario HIV Treatment Network Cohort Study, the primary goal of this study was to describe the socio-demographic characteristics of a sample of older people (age 50 and over) from Ontario (n = 1,129) living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs). The secondary goal was to compare four sub-samples of older PHAs: women (10.6%), heterosexual men (16.7%), gay men (65.8%), and bisexual men (6.9%). These groups differed significantly by age, education, income, nationality, race, and time spent living with HIV. Compared to other groups, gay and bisexual men (GBM) reported lower HIV stigma, disclosure stigma, negative self-image stigma, and concern with public attitude stigma. GBM also reported higher mental health quality of life, lower depression scores, and lower maladaptive coping scores. These findings suggest that services for older PHAs, including training for HIV and gerontological providers, may need to cater to the specific needs of these sub-populations.


Utilisant des données recueillies par Ontario HIV Treatment Network Cohort Study (OCS), l’objectif principal de cette étude était de décrire les caractéristiques socio-demographiques d’un échantillon de personnes âgées (50 ans et plus) de l’Ontario (n = 1 129) vivant avec le VIH /SIDA. L’objectif secondaire était de comparer quatre sous-echantillons de PVVIH : les femmes (10,6%), les hommes heterosexuels (16,7%), les hommes homosexuels (65,8%), et les hommes bisexuels (6,9%). Ces groupes diffèrent d’une manière significative dans l’âge, l’éducation, le revenu, la nationalité, la race, et le temps passé atteints du VIH. En comparaison à d’autres groupes, les hommes gais et bisexuels (HGB) ont déclaré une stigmatisation plus baisse associée au VIH, et aussi à la stigmatisation sur la divulgation, à la stigmatisation associée à l’image negative de soi, et la stigmatisation associée aux attitudes publiques. HGB ont également signalé une meilleure qualité de vie en ce qui concerne la santé mentale, les scores plus baisses pour la dépression et des scores plus faibles pour l’ inadaptation face à la vie. Ces résultats suggèrent que les services pour les PVVIH plus âgées, y compris la formation sur le VIH pour les prestataires des services pour VIH et les gérontologues, peuvent avoir besoin de répondre aux besoins spécifiques de ces sous-populations.

Corresponding author
Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to / La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à: David J. Brennan, Ph.D. Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work University of Toronto 246 Bloor Street West Toronto, ON M5S 1V4 (
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Funding for this study was provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) through the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. (Emlet, P.I.). Brennan’s work is supported by an Ontario HIV Treatment Network Scholarship Award. The authors acknowledge other members of the Positive Aging working group who offered guidance and feedback on this study: Trevor A. Hart, Francisco Ibanez-Carrasco, Sean B. Rourke, and Stephanie Karapita. We gratefully acknowledge all of the people living with HIV who volunteered to participate in the OHTN Cohort Study and the work and support of the past and present members of the OCS Governance Committee: Darien Taylor, Dr. Evan Collins, Dr. Greg Robinson, Shari Margolese, Patrick Cupido, Tony Di Pede, Rick Kennedy, Michael Hamilton, Ken King, Brian Finch, Lori Stoltz, Adrian Betts, Colleen Price, Tracey Conway, John MacTavish, Claire Kendall, Anita Benoit, Rosie Thein, Brian Huskins, Les Bowman, Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi, Dr. Clemon George, and Dr. Curtis Cooper. We thank all the interviewers, data collectors, research associates and coordinators, nurses, and physicians who provide support for data collection and extraction. The authors wish to thank the OHTN staff and their teams for data management and IT support (Mark Fisher, Director, IT), and OCS project coordination (Brooke Ellis, OCS Research Coordinator). We also acknowledge the Public Health Laboratories, Public Health Ontario, for supporting record linkage with the HIV viral load database. The OHTN Cohort Study is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

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Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement
  • ISSN: 0714-9808
  • EISSN: 1710-1107
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