seniors

Chicago House awarded new grant for the aging HIV/AIDS population

Chicago House is pleased to announce that we received a generous grant from Gilead Sciences, Inc. to provide services to individuals over the age of 55 living with HIV/AIDS. This opportunity comes an essential time for those who survived the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 80s and 90s, and are now facing additional challenges as they age with HIV.  About 1.2 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with HIV, and approximately half of them are 50 years and older.  By 2020, this number is expected to increase with almost 3 out of 4 HIV-positive people being 50 years or older.

HIV-positive older adults survived turbulent periods during the early years of the epidemic, and now they face a whole new set of challenges as they age.  Physical health and medical issues, such as elevated lipids (high cholesterol), diabetes, hypertension, peripheral neuropathy, cardiovascular disease, and low bone mineral density, can all exacerbated by HIV/AIDS.  These issues may be a direct result of the virus, or a result of taking HIV medications, which can be toxic and hard on the body, for many years.  The disease can also take a mental toll, as friends also affected by HIV/AIDS pass.  HIV-positive older adults may face isolation, depression, and loneliness when friends die, or experience social ostracization due to their diagnosis.

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In Chicago, up to 17,500 people age 50 and older could be living with the disease. By 2020, this could increase to 26,000. This grant will allow Chicago House to provide much-needed resources like outreach and a support network to older adults living with HIV/AIDS.  This support will feature our full continuum of services, including five housing programs (Supportive Living, Family Support, Independent Living, TransLife Center and Scattered-Site Housing) as well as professional counseling, case management, assistance with transportation and other basic needs. We hope to launch this new initiative by April, with outreach driven by our social media networks.  We are looking forward to helping older Chicagoans living with HIV/AIDS find resources, develop supportive communities, and create new relationships with peers online.

We are deeply grateful to Gilead Sciences, Inc. for awarding us this grant, and our friends and partners for their continued support. Watch out for the official launch of this exciting new program this spring!