VANCOUVER, BC, July 4, 2019 /CNW/ – The Dr. Peter Centre, a non-profit organization that supports innovative healthcare delivery in the Metro Vancouver area for people living with HIV, has seen major uptake for its unique Evening Program pilot project since launching in 2017. This vital program assists aging gay and bi men, and men who have sex with men, who are over 50 and living with HIV.
This program is the first and only program of its kind in Canada. The Dr. Peter Centre is a leader in HIV care, offering those living with HIV a place to connect with others in a safe, stigma-free environment.
“This pilot program started to address the unique challenges people living with HIV have as they age. As the lifespans have increased over the past few decades with improved treatment regime, this is an unprecedented and growing issue that needs to be addressed,” said Scott Elliott, Executive Director of the Dr. Peter Centre.
The population of aging men with HIV is vastly growing, with estimates that the percentage of seniors (aged 65 and older) will nearly double within the next 25 years from 14.1 per cent in 2010 to approximately 23-25 per cent by 2036. As the only HIV day health program and 24-hour nursing care residence in British Columbia, the Dr. Peter Centre is a leader in helping aging gay men overcome stigmas and barriers such as social isolation and food insecurity.
The pilot program offers a holistic approach to care for this aging population. Program members receive a nutrient-dense evening meal, art and music therapy, individual and group counselling, occupational therapy and access to other healthcare disciplines and resources.
The Evening Program supports those with multiple medical conditions who face the social stigmas of aging with HIV. A significant struggle for some of those living with HIV is adhering to a daily drug regimen and the program assists members in finding the best opportunities to access care. As the evening program has become so successful, many members have now gone on to join the day program as well.
“In the Vancouver area alone, there are almost 600 individuals that could benefit from this program. We have seen the uptake in individuals increase by nearly double over the last year and many of those individuals have now also joined our day program,” added Elliott.
Stigma around living with HIV and adherence to a daily drug regimen can be problematic for those without the social supports and structure in their daily life.
“Health complications from aging with HIV/AIDS is a newer scenario. We are proud to be a trailblazer in Canada in supporting patients encountering these barriers and stigmas as they age” added Elliott.
The Dr. Peter Centre provides innovative, therapeutic care in a community environment. Since the Centre was built inVancouver’s West End in 2003, it has provided comfort care for people with multiple vulnerabilities including HIV. A total of 395 people are enrolled in our day program which offers two daily meals, recreation, music, and art therapy in addition to access to nursing staff. The Centre also offers a long-term care residence that serves people who require longer-term, medically complex care; end-of-life care; and short-term stabilization as they transition out of hospital.