Saturday, September 18, is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day 2021, referred to on social media as #HIVandAging and #NHAAD. It is an opportunity to draw attention to the health and social needs of the growing number of people aging with HIV, who often face unique challenges and stigma but also enjoy long and fulfilling lives.
Launched in 2008 by The AIDS Institute, the awareness day is also “an effort to raise awareness due to the alarming increase in the number of HIV diagnoses among older adults and individuals over 50 living and ,” writes The AIDS Institute on its NHAAD website. “Our goals are to emphasize the need for prevention, research and data focused on the aging community and increase medical understanding of the impact of HIV on the natural aging process. Through action, we hope to increase the quality of life for people living with HIV. Through awareness, we hope to reduce stigma surrounding HIV.”
Older Americans don’t always realize that they have #HIV and may be at-risk of spreading it to others. Talking to HCPs about #PrEP and testing services is crucial. Access free resources at https://t.co/wHpQKWyCgk @cmeoutfitters #NHAAD #HIVandAging #AIDSandAging pic.twitter.com/aZYFrGm66S— The AIDS Institute (@AIDSadvocacy) September 16, 2021
AIDSVu, which maps HIV data and makes it accessible to the public, offers these numbers for people aging with HIV:
In 2019, there were 388,322 people age 55 and older living with HIV, representing 37% of the U.S. population living with HIV. In the same year, out of all people newly diagnosed with HIV, 10% were Americans ages 55 and older. Additionally, for people 55 and older living with diagnosed HIV,
• 83% were linked to care;
• 75% received care;
• 67% were virally suppressed—the highest viral suppression rate among all age groups.
In addition, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) use increased by 38% from 2018 to 2019 among this age group, indicating more engagement in HIV prevention among older adults.
Older adults living with HIV face additional aging-related challenges, such as multiple chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, lung disease and obesity. Stigma stemming from isolation due to a lack of social support and/or illness may also prevent older individuals from accessing HIV-related health care or disclosing their HIV status.
In addition to aging-related challenges, racial disparities and social determinants of health, such as poverty, education and food insecurity, impact HIV-related health outcomes for this age group. For example:
• In 2019, Black Americans 55 and older had the highest number of new HIV diagnoses (1,651 diagnoses) and deaths among people living with HIV (3,852 deaths) compared with other races/ethnicities.
Visit AIDSVu.com for more details as well as infographics you can share.
For more resources and downloadable graphics, go to HIV.gov or search the hashtags #HIVandAging, #AIDSandAging and #NHAAD on social media.
Working with the AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth and Families, The AIDS Institute created the video “Use Your Voice—Addressing HIV Stigma in Older Women,” which you can view below.
Together, we can empower older adults to make healthy choices and promote early detection of #HIV. That’s why we’re teaming up with @cmeoutfitters to share free resources on testing, risk assessment, and #PrEP: https://t.co/HXouIStYj5 #NHAAD #HIVandAging #AIDSandAging pic.twitter.com/wc8nWkqyKS— The AIDS Institute (@AIDSadvocacy) September 14, 2021
For a collection of related articles in POZ, click the hashtag #Aging. You’ll find such headlines as: