The Changing Impact of the AIDS Epidemic on Older-Age Parents in the Era of ART: Evidence from Thailand

John Knodel, University of Michigan

Before antiretroviral therapy (ART), many older persons experienced adverse emotional, material and social consequences due to the illness and death of their HIV infected adult children. The present study examines how widespread access to ART is transforming the situation in Thailand. Interviews with parents reveal major improvements in the health of their adult children under treatment. This is associated with major reductions in parental caregiving and expenses related to 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 continued or resumed economic activity and many contributed to support of the parental household. ART also appears to contribute to reducing 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.

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Presented in Session 161: HIV Risk, Prevention, and Consequences