Are Aging Populations At Risk For HIV?

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day: Celebrating aging populations living long, fulfilling HIV-positive lives.

HIV doesn’t only spread among young people. Did you know in 2018, over half of those diagnosed with HIV were aged 50 or older?

Age can’t prevent the spread of HIV. No matter how old you are, having unprotected sex can put you at risk. So, if you’re hooking up, rubber up and get tested to know your status! By taking these actions, you’re protecting your health and the health of your partners.

September 18thNational HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, is a day to celebrate the growing number of those living long and fulfilling HIV positive lives and highlight the age-related challenges older populations face while living with HIV. 

Naturally, aging can introduce health challenges. For those living with HIV, aging can present an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, bone loss and certain cancers. In addition, aging populations who are HIV positive must be mindful of how their treatment and age-related medicines interact.

Other HIV-related challenges aging populations face include:

  • Those who are widowed or divorced and dating again may not be as informed about HIV 
  • Some may not feel the need to practice safe sex if they’re not worried about getting pregnant 
  • Some may feel reluctant to discuss their sexual habits with a health care provider
  • A health care provider may not recommend HIV testing if it’s assumed the patient is no longer sexually active due to their age
  • Health care providers may be less likely to ask about a patient’s sexual activity — including numbers of sexual partners, using protection and other factors related to HIV/AIDS

To live healthy, fulfilling lives and stop the spread of HIV, aging populations can do the following:   

  1. Talk to a health care provider about sex, HIV and PrEP | Having open and honest conversations with a health care provider about your sexual behavior is essential. Your doctor can talk to you about HIV risks and prevention methods, such as internal and external condoms, and PrEP
  2. Take care of yourself and wear protection | It doesn’t matter if you’re 50, 60 or 70 years old, you can still get HIV. However, you can still enjoy fun under the sheets! One of the best ways you can protect yourself against HIV is by wearing protection. 
  3. Stay informed about HIV risks | Did you know you have the same HIV risks as someone younger than you? You have the power to change that. Know the risks of HIV, treatment and care. Your life matters, make the best out of your golden years by having safe sex.
  4. Get tested | Perhaps one of the most important things you can do is to get tested for HIV to know your status. Among people aged 55 and older who received an HIV diagnosis in 2015, 50% had HIV for 4.5 years before they were diagnosed. It’s crucial for your health and others that you get tested often. 

This National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, we celebrate YOU. Knowing your HIV status and seeking treatment if you’re HIV positive can help you stay healthy. Find confidential HIV testing, treatment and other resources at  

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