HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

Sept. 18 is the annual observance of the National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (NHAAAD). It is a day of observance that brings light to the challenges that the aging population faces in regards to HIV/AIDS. This day is used to highlight topics such as prevention, testing and treatment of those who are aging with HIV/AIDS.

The face of HIV/AIDS continues to be a graying one. In 2014, an estimated 45 percent of Americans living with diagnosed HIV were aged 50 and older. As of 2015, 50 percent of people with HIV in the U.S. will be age 50 and older. By 2020, more than 70 percent of Americans with HIV are expected to 50 and older. Although HIV risk factors are similar for all adults, older adults may be less aware of these factors and the importance of testing to detect HIV in its earliest stages. CDC reports that in 2014, 40 percent of people aged 55 and older were diagnosed with AIDS at the time of HIV diagnosis. Thanks to better treatments, people with HIV are living longer. LGBT people and people of color are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • People aged 50 and over accounted for 17 percent (6,725) of the 39,513 HIV diagnoses in 2015 in the United States. People aged 50 to 54 accounted for 45 percent (3,010) of the diagnoses among people aged 50 and over.
  • Among people aged 50 and over, blacks/African Americans accounted for 43 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in 2015. Whites accounted for 36 percent, and Hispanics/Latino accounted for 17 percent.
  • Among people aged 50 and older, 49 percent of new HIV diagnoses in 2015 were among gay and bisexual men, 15 percent were among heterosexual men, 23 percent were among heterosexual women, and 12 percent were among persons who inject drugs.
  • From 2010 to 2014, HIV diagnoses among all people aged 50 and over decreased by 10 percent.
  • In 2014, 40 percent of people aged 55 and older had late stage infection (AIDS) at the time of HIV diagnosis (i.e., diagnosed late in the course of the infection).

How you can raise awareness About HIV/AIDS and Aging:

  • Educate older people about the importance of preventing risky behaviors using age-sensitive information and education. 
  • Fight stigma. 
  • Deliver effective prevention and evidence-based interventions for antiretroviral adherence therapy for older Americans. 
  • Encourage physicians to screen patients of all ages for HIV infections