People living with HIV develop certain conditions as they age. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 42% of people living with HIV in the United States are either 50 years old or more. For some of this population, it is still a wonder that they got diagnosed with the infection in the 1980s yet they are still alive and able to share their story.
HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder
The older an individual gets, the more the conditions he/she is more likely to suffer from as a result of ageing. For people living with HIV, the conditions might even more severe. One such condition that these people may develop is the HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND).
This is a condition in which HIV-positive individuals are unable to function at the normal cognitive level. Additionally, people living with HIV go through neuroinflammation. Neuroinflammation can disrupt neurons in the brain over time that may cause problems with the thought problems. It takes longer for people living with HIV to carry out day to day activities.
Sometimes, HIV positive ageing individuals may have trouble in looking for words for certain things. Research also indicates that old people living with HIV have more driving complications.
It is because of the challenges mentioned above that a doctor from UAB school of nursing has come up with the idea to develop specialized training games with the aim of improving the thought process of HIV positive ageing individuals.
The doctor who is very much excited about his development aims to focus on tasks such as verbal memory, visual speed processing and reasoning. He further believes that the initiative will help provide treatment for cognitive disorder.
Specialized Training Games to Help with Cognitive Disorders
Despite the fact that researchers across the board have always discussed the issues of HIV and cognitive disorders, the doctor is the first in the science community to come up with such an initiative. Moreover, the training brings hope for people living with HIV as well as the society at large.
Being diagnosed with HIV should not be taken as the end of the world. Specialized training by using games is just one of the many advancements in search of treatment for the virus. Focus should also be put on techniques that will help HIV positive ageing individuals to age well despite having the virus.
If this particular strategy works, the World Health Organization, as well as other agencies, should find out more information on it and try it in other countries. It is indeed another miraculous addition to the combat against HIV besides early detection treatment with HIV PEP.
The study further gives encouragement to the young people who are newly diagnosed with HIV. Additionally, the initiative will help reduce the levels of stigmatization that people living with HIV face in the sense that HIV will no longer be considered as a disease that kills but one that can be survived. With such developments on HIV, one can only hope that a cure for the disease will be developed in the near future.