Mental Health, Psychosocial Challenges and Resilience in Older Adults Living with HIV

Perry N. Halkitis, Kristen D. Krause, Dorice L. Vieira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In addition to physical health challenges, older people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) experience mental health burdens and challenges to their social well-being that diminish their overall health. These health states are synergistic and are driven by HIV and HIV treatments, the aging process itself, and psychosocial and structural conditions of their lives. However, resilience, which we understand as both a trait and a process, may serve to buffer the effects that HIV/HIV treatments, aging, and social/structural conditions may have on the overall well-being of the individual. In this chapter, we examine the extant literate on the mental health and psychosocial challenges experienced by older PLWHA as elements of the total health of the individual. We also provide a contextualization and conceptualization for understanding the significant role that resilience may play in empowering individuals to enact processes which buffer health from the stressors. In this perspective, the health of older PLWHA must be viewed through a lens of power and strength rather than one of deficit. We conclude by outlining a theoretical paradigm for the role of resilience in the health of older HIV-positive adults, which may serve as a guide to clinicians, public health practitioners, and researchers working with this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-203
Number of pages17
JournalInterdisciplinary Topics in Gerontology and Geriatrics
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Aging


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