The Impact of the AIDS Epidemic on the Lives of Older People in Rural Uganda
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The impact of HIV and AIDS on older people (over 60) is often portrayed as bound up in the care of children who are left when their parents die. There is, however, a growing awareness that the epidemic touches older people’s lives in other ways; affecting their socio-economic situation, their own sexuality and choices about partnerships as well as affecting relationships with their remaining children and relatives. Growing old presents challenges beyond HIV and AIDS as health wanes and the ability to plan ahead and care for ones-self and any dependents decreases. It is these dimensions of older people’s lives that we explore in this paper. Using a lifecourse approach we analyse longitudinal data from studies in 1991/1992 and 2006/2007 from rural Uganda to provide a picture of daily life of four older people, describing the challenges that they face in coming to terms with a world changed by the AIDS epidemic. By focusing on the lives of four people (three widows and a widower in their late 70s/80s) we show the great importance of their socio-economic status, as well as reciprocal relationships with family and friends, in sustaining them in the remaining years of their lives.
- Medical and Health Sciences