The age profile of people living with HIV in the UK is changing and this is particularly marked in women. In 2006, 14% of women with HIV in the UK were over 45 years old and 44% under 35. By 2016, 52% were over 45 and 15% under 35.
Women of black African ethnicity were, on the whole, better educated: about half of them had been to university compared with a quarter of both white British and black Caribbean women. They were also slightly more likely to be employed. Despite this, they were more likely to be living below the poverty line.
Black African and Caribbean women experienced greater social isolation and reported more symptoms of depression and anxiety than white women. However, they were less likely to have been diagnosed with depression or to have it treated.
Psychological distress had a potential impact on health – older women with moderate or severe psychological distress were 75% more likely to have missed clinic appointments in the last year and more than twice as likely to have missed doses of their antiretroviral therapy in the last week.
For more information, read NAM's booklet 'HIV, mental health & emotional wellbeing'.