HIV-AIDS is on the rise amongst the 50+ due partially to a generational gap, discomfort with discussing sex, medical interventions and changes in lifestyle.
On February 15, Fred Cicetti, columnist for The Healthy Geezer, online forum on health for seniors, and weekly contributor to LiveScience, science and health news site, explains, seniors are dating again with no risk of pregnancy and may not be fully educated about HIV-AIDS and the importance of condoms.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA), a research division of a U.S public health agency, states 25% of Americans living with HIV-AIDS are over 50 years old and China Daily, China's Anglophone newspaper, reported on January 11 that "there is a worrying increase in the number of elderly people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, with the highest infection rate among prostitutes and their clients".
Hao Yang, deputy director of the Ministry of Health's disease prevention and control bureau, told China Daily, "old people have not been a priority in HIV and AIDS prevention and control campaigns, but they should be paid more attention". NIA agrees listing physicians' attitude toward sex and the elderly as a contributing factor for the increase, including seniors lack of knowledge concerning the transmission of HIV-AIDS and importance of condoms.
It should also be noted that people are living longer with HIV-AIDS due to medical interventions, symptoms can be dormant for ten years, and HIV-AIDS symptoms that are also associated with aging (aches and fatigue) are often overlooked.
Here are some sites to help facilitate a dialogue:
Cicetti's column in LiveScience: http://www.livescience.com/health/seniors-aids-hiv-100215.html
NIA's HIV-AIDS health info page: http://www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Publications/hiv-aids.htm
Video, How to put a condom on correctly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2HZkMjWyp8
Older people and HIV-AIDS around the world: http://www.globalaging.org/health/world/hiv-index.htm
China Daily article: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-01/11/content_9296241.htm