September 18 is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day


Friday, September 18, is the 8th annual observance of National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (NHAAAD), an opportunity to focus on the challenges facing the aging population regarding HIV prevention, testing, care, and treatment, as well as the health and well-being of 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 accounted for nearly 20% of new HIV diagnoses in 2013, with a majority occurring among those in the 50-54 age group. More than 40% of these new infections occurred among gay and bi men, and as with all age groups, people of color -- especially African-Americans -- are disproportionately affected.

Nationwide, more than a third of people living with HIV or with an AIDS diagnosis are 50 or over, but in cities with early epidemics such as San Francisco, they account for a majority. In 2013 this age group accounted for 59% of deaths among people with AIDS.

Some recent research suggests that HIV-positive people who receive prompt antiretroviral treatment can have a life expectancy similar to that of HIV-negative individuals, but older people with HIV are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage of infection and progress more rapidly to AIDS. Furthermore, many people who contracted HIV early in the epidemic reached very low CD4 T-cell counts before effective treatment was available and used poorly tolerated first-generation antiretrovirals, leading to long-term negative health 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.



CDC. HIV Among People Aged 50 and Older. Fact sheet. Updated May 12, 2015.