September 18 is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

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This Thursday, September 18, is the 7th annual National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (NHAAAD), an occasion to focus on the challenges facing the aging population regarding HIV prevention, testing, care, and treatment, as well as overall health and wellbeing for the growing population of older people living with HIV.

NHAAAD Resources

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people age 50 and older make up approximately one-fifth of the more than 1 million people with HIV in the U.S., and this age group accounted for about one-quarter of all new infections in 2011. In cities with early epidemics, such as San Francisco and New York City, a majority of people with HIV are over 50.

While recent research suggests that HIV positive people who receive timely treatment can have a life expectancy similar to that of HIV negative individuals, older people with HIV are more likely to be diagnosed later in the course of disease, resulting in delayed treatment, more immune system damage, and poorer prognosis. In addition, many people who were infected early in the epidemic reached low CD4 T-cell counts and used poorly tolerated first-generation antiretrovirals with long-term negative consequences.

Older people with HIV face a number of challenges including higher rates and earlier occurrence of chronic non-AIDS conditions such as cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, as well as the effects of living through the worst years of an epidemic that decimated their circle of friends and loved ones -- dubbed AIDS Survivor Syndrome.

In recognition of NHAAAD, the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA) will host 2 webinars: "Why Should I Care and What Should I Do?" on September 16 and "What All Practitioners Should Know" on September 17.

"The new information and advances we see in medical treatment and increased attention to prevention in older populations at risk are critical issues to bring to the public’s attention and this day offers us an opportunity for that," said Benjamin Bashein of the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA), which offers training and resources on HIV and aging. "It is so important that we dispel the myths of aging with HIV and realistically address prevention efforts. Older people are indeed sexually active and there are affirming and successful ways to talk about preventing the transmission of HIV and other STDs."

9/16/14

Sources

CDC. HIV/AIDS Among People Aged 50 and Older. Fact sheet. Updated December 20, 2013.

ACRIA. 9/18 National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, Event in NYC, Webinars online for practitioners. Media announcement. September 10, 2014.

KJ O'Keefe, S Scheer, MJ Chen, et al. People fifty years or older now account for the majority of AIDS cases in San Francisco, California, 2010. AIDS Care 25(9):1145-1148. September 2013.