Aging and HIV: New Insights, New Recommendations

by Kira Garcia

In the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, most people diagnosed faced death within a few years, if not sooner. Thirty years on, much has changed; HIV has become a more manageable chronic illness and many people are aging with the disease.

The proof is in these startling statistics: it’s predicted that 50 percent of people with HIV in the U.S. will be age 50+ by 2015—and by 2020, more than 70 percent of Americans with HIV are expected to 50+.

With that in mind, SAGE, the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) and ACRIA (AIDS Community Research Initiative of America) have created a report outlining eight recommendations to address the needs of a growing demographic of older adults with HIV, many of whom are LGBT and people of color. The full report, Eight Policy Recommendations for Improving the Health & Wellness of Older Adults with HIV, can be found online here.

In conjunction with this project, several leaders in the field joined forces for a recent national teleconference on HIV & Aging. Among the many issues discussed, Dan Tietz of ACRIA highlighted the power of images. Tietz reminded listeners that “It’s important to target prevention messages to older adults. Don’t use images of young adults and teenagers to reach at risk older adults.”

As the experience of living with HIV/AIDS has changed, our approach to care and messages about prevention must also evolve. This new report should serve as an important resource in accomplishing that goal.

Kira Garcia is Director of Media Relations & Integrated Marketing at Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). This post originally appeared on the SAGE Blog.