September 17th 2019

By 2020, more than 70 percent of Americans with HIV/AIDS are expected to be aged 50 and older. Every September 18, we highlight the challenges that the older population faces relating to HIV/AIDS.

Our recent strides in science have helped many people live longer, especially those with diseases and illnesses. Regarding HIV/AIDS, the risk factors are similar in many adults; however, the older the adult, the less aware they will be of these factors.

By 2020, more than 70 percent of Americans with HIV/AIDS are expected to be aged 50 and older. Every September 18, we highlight the challenges that the older population faces relating to HIV/AIDS. This day is intended to educate the public on topics such as prevention, testing and treatment of those who are aging with this disease.1

Challenges that face many of these adults are due to a later diagnosis of HIV. There is a greater chance of adults that are 55 and older to be diagnosed with the disease when it is late in the run of its course. This leads to a very late start in treatment and potentially more damage to the person’s immune system.1

Other challenges may include: sexually active individuals with one or more partners, widowed or divorced people dating again who are less knowledgeable about the risks of HIV, and older patients and their doctors less likely to discuss the patients’ sexual habits.1

There are different ways that organizations and individuals can become involved in National HIV/AIDS Aging Awareness Day. For example, the AIDS Institute created a campaign titled, “Reaching Aging Adults Living with or at Risk of HIV- A New Media and Technology Strategy,” targeted to provide training opportunities, resources, information, and education for adults over 50.2

Other ways that the public can become involved include:

  • Encouraging physicians to screen patients of all ages for HIV infections
  • Delivering effective prevention and evidence-based interventions for antiretroviral adherence therapy for older Americans
  • Educate older adults about the importance of preventing risky behaviors using age-sensitive information and education
  • Hosting a HIV screening event
  • Conduct events at senior community centers or nursing home facilities about HIV/AIDS1,2

References

  1. National HIV/AIDS and aging awareness day Sept. 18. The American Psychological Association website. https://www.apa.org/pi/aids/resources/aging-awareness. Accessed September 17, 2019.
  2. National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness (NHAAA). The AIDS Institute website. https://www.theaidsinstitute.org/programs/education/national-hivaids-and-aging-awareness-nhaaa. Published September 2012. Accessed September 17, 2019.

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