Sexual Health news - HIV

As doctors diagnose more older adults with HIV, research is needed

On Sept. 18, The AIDS Institute (TAI) hosted activities for National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, which took place in Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas for the fifth consecutive year. The event occurred right after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that, in 2015, half of the individuals living with HIV in the U.S. will be at least 50 years old.

Currently, there are more than one million Americans living with HIV, one in five of whom are unaware of their infection, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The virus is most prevalent among young African American men who have sex with men. However, many new infections are being observed in older adults, regardless of their sexual orientation.

TAI held a national webinar, in which speakers emphasized the need for HIV awareness, research, education and prevention for older adults.

"HIV prevention strategies are critical, especially among the aging population," said Michelle Scavnicky, director of Education and Capacity Building Assistance Programs at TAI. "Events planned on or around National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day provide a unique opportunity to reach older adults as a 'nontraditional' at-risk target audience through HIV prevention efforts, including HIV education, testing, and resources for HIV care and treatment."

One of the biggest concerns is that scientists have found evidence that HIV may accelerate the progression of chronic conditions commonly seen in older individuals. Moreover, for these patients, many treatments can be more difficult to tolerate and may not interact well with other forms of medical care. This is why there is a urgent need for more research on HIV/AIDS and aging.