Examining HIV/AIDS Among Seniors

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The New York Times recently examined HIV/AIDS among U.S. residents older than age 50. HIV-positive people are living longer as the virus has become more manageable; however, HIV is "more aggressive" in older people because the immune system begins to deteriorate naturally as people age, according to the Times.

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Twenty-nine percent of people living with AIDS in the U.S. are older than age 50, and the age group accounted for 15% of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in 2005, according to CDC. Despite increased HIV prevalence among seniors, CDC recommends routine HIV screening only up to age 64 and does not emphasize HIV testing for people ages 65 and older. In addition, it can be difficult to diagnose and treat HIV effectively among seniors because many conditions that often occur in older people, such as arthritis and dementia, also can be caused by HIV, the Times reports.

Myron Gold, an HIV advocate who serves as the vice chair of the New York Association of HIV Over Fifty, said increased HIV prevention and testing efforts focused on seniors are needed. HIV "is not an illness about people in their 20s and teens," Gold said, adding, "This is an illness about every spectrum, from young to old" (Barrow, New York Times, 11/10).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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