More needs to be done to help people living into older age with HIV, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Around one fifth of all people in the UK who are HIV positive are aged 50 and over, but there is often a lack of training for health care workers and a lack of knowledge among the public, said the RCN on the eve of its annual congress in Liverpool. Nursing staff will be debating the issue of HIV awareness at the event tomorrow.

The RCN on its website quotes Memory Sachikonye, 48, who was diagnosed in 2002. She said: "Older people with HIV will have more than one illness and when you are seeing five different consultants it can be difficult keeping track of medications, appointments and tests, especially if you are ill.

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"If there is one thing that would really help older people with HIV it is having someone who can coordinate care between different parts of the health service to make sure there are no mistakes and to reduce the stress for patients."

Ian Lamb, 61, lives in Blackpool with his partner. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1996, at the age of 42.

He said: "The attitudes towards HIV haven't really changed in some parts of the country from when I was first diagnosed 20 years ago, it is just more subtle and less noticeable now. "