Healthy Aging in Older Women Living with HIV Infection: a Systematic Review of Psychosocial Factors

Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 2017 Feb;14(1):17-30. doi: 10.1007/s11904-017-0347-y.


Due to life-enhancing effects of antiretroviral therapy, HIV-positive persons have the potential for long life comparable to their uninfected peers. Older women (age 50+) living with HIV (OWLH) are often an under-recognized aging group. We conducted a systematic review to examine psychosocial factors that impact how OWLH live, cope, and age with HIV. Initial key word search yielded 1527 records, and 21 studies met our inclusion criteria of original quantitative or qualitative research published between 2013 and 2016 with results specific to OWLH. These focused on health care and self-management, sexual health and risk, stigma, loneliness, mental health (depression, substance use), and protective factors (coping, social support, well-being). Due to the scarcity of studies on each topic and inconclusive findings, no clear patterns of results emerged. As the number of OWLH continues to grow, more research, including longitudinal studies, is needed to fully characterize the psychosocial factors that impact aging with HIV.

Keywords: Elderly; HIV/AIDS; Healthcare utilization; Healthy aging; Mental health; Older adults; Older women; Protective factors; Psychosocial factors; Sexual health.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged


  • Anti-HIV Agents