Health Systems Must Prepare For Aging Population Living With HIV
“[M]any health systems are not ready to cope with th[e] relatively new phenomenon” of people living with HIV (PLHIV) growing older, PlusNews reports. “Data on aging with HIV is largely restricted to the developed world and very little is known about older Africans living with virus, despite the high caseload in this region,” the news service writes, adding, “A July 2012 supplement of the medical journal, AIDS, notes that an estimated three million people in sub-Saharan Africa aged 50 and older are HIV-positive — 14 percent of all infected adults (7/26). In the U.S., people aged 50 and older accounted for 17 percent of new HIV diagnoses in 2009, according to the CDC, the Associated Press adds. The news service notes about one-third of the nearly 1.2 million PLHIV in the U.S. are older than 50, and that proportion will rise to one half by 2020, according to Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP), who spoke at one of several sessions on aging at the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) (Neergaard, 7/26).
“Nils Daulaire, the director of the Office of Global Health Affairs in the United States Department of Health and Human Services, said not only do older people still have sex, but it is mostly not safe sex and is frequently with multiple partners,” PlusNews reports, adding, “As a result of being left out of HIV awareness campaigns, older people often did not know enough about HIV and preventing it” (7/26). “The new focus is on what these pioneering survivors can expect as they reach their 50s, 60s and beyond,” the AP writes, adding, “They’re now getting chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and osteoporosis — some of the common ailments when anyone gets old. But studies suggest people with HIV may be at higher risk for some of those illnesses, or get them earlier than usual” (7/26).
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