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Researchers Concerned Over Likely Rise In Older People Living With HIV In Sub-Saharan Africa

“Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to see a more than 200 percent increase in the number of older people living with HIV in the next 30 years, thanks to improvements in life-saving treatment, experts said Thursday,” Agence France-Presse reports. “Three million people aged 50 or older currently live with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa and that figure is expected to rise to 9.1 million by 2040,” the news service notes. “It’s mainly driven by the fact that people are being treated with antiretroviral drugs and therefore will survive to be old,” Robert Cumming of the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney said at a conference on aging in Africa, according to AFP. Cumming added the problem is “being ignored,” and the news service writes, “Policy makers on the continent were also not acknowledging the growing age group which has doctors and others working in the field worried.”  

“An analysis by HelpAge International found only 68 of 119 country progress reports submitted to … UNAIDS had some data or reference to older people,” and “[o]nly four had details on prevalence for those living with HIV,” AFP writes. “The lack of data just means we don’t have a clear picture of what’s happening in relation to HIV and aging and that means that we can’t respond appropriately,” Rachel Albone of HelpAge International said, according to the news service. “AIDS data and policy efforts in Africa have overwhelmingly focused on the 15- to 49-year-old grouping,” AFP notes (Gerardy, 10/19).