The Changing Impact of the AIDS Epidemic on Older-Age Parents in the Era of ART: Evidence from Thailand
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Previous research makes clear that before antiretroviral therapy (ART), when HIV led to disabling illness and certain death, many older persons as parents of infected adults experienced adverse emotional, material and social consequences. The present study examines how widespread access to ART is transforming the situation in Thailand. Interviews with parents of adult ART recipients reveal that major improvements in the health of their adult children under treatment is associated with major reductions in parental caregiving and expenses associated with their HIV-infected child although parents continue to provide psychological support. Parents own worry about their child’s health also declines. Most adult children on ART are able to continue or resume economic activity and many contribute to support of the parental household. ART appears to reduce negative community reaction. Nevertheless, given uncertainty surrounding how long ART can protect against fatal illnesses, whether the adverse impacts of the AIDS epidemic on parents are being eliminated or only postponed remains an open question.
KeywordsAIDS and older persons: antiretroviral therapy HIV/AIDS impact Parental caregiving Parents of adults with HIV/AIDS Thailand
This research was supported by a pilot sub-grant from the National Institute on Aging grant P30 AG012846. The author gratefully acknowledges the collaboration of Jiraporn Kespichayawattana, Chanpen Saengtienchai and Suvinee Wiwatwanich in the project that produced the data on which this study is based.
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