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Older Populations

When people think of those populations most impacted by HIV/AIDS, older persons are often the last to come to mind. However, older people are at increasing risk for HIV/AIDS and other STDs. A growing number of older people now have HIV/AIDS. People age 50 and older represent almost one-fourth of all people with HIV/AIDS in the U.S.  (1). Because older people don't get tested for HIV/AIDS on a regular basis, there may be even more cases than currently known.

Many factors contribute to the increasing risk of infection in older people. In general, older Americans know less about HIV/AIDS and STDs than younger age groups because the elderly have been neglected by those responsible for education and prevention messages. In addition, older people are less likely than younger people to talk about their sex lives or drug use with their doctors, and doctors don't tend to ask their older patients about sex or drug use. Finally, older people often mistake the symptoms of HIV/AIDS for the aches and pains of normal aging, so they are less likely to get tested  (1).

Featured Links

Current Issues on HIV/AIDS in Older Adults
From Psychology and AIDS Exchange Newsletter

Hepatitis C: Testing Baby Boomers Saves Lives
From CDC's Vital Signs

Diagnoses of HIV Infection among Adults Aged 50 Years and Older in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2007–2010
From CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention

HIV/AIDS among Persons Aged 50 and Over
From CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention

HIV Disease in Individuals Ages Fifty and Above (PDF)
Publication from the HIV/AIDS Bureau of the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

HIV, AIDS, and Older People
Fact sheet from the National Institute on Aging
En Español

What are HIV Prevention Needs of Adults Over 50?
From Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California at San Francisco
En Español

Aging & HIV/AIDS
Resources from The Body

Older People and HIV
From AIDS InfoNet
En Español

1 National Institute on Aging. HIV, AIDS, and Older People. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2009. (cited 2012 Jan 12). Available from:

Page Last Updated: April 1, 2014

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