Now in its seventh year, National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day was founded by The AIDS Institute, a national non-profit. The awareness campaign targets people living with HIV/AIDS who are aging with the disease or already over 50 at the time of their initial diagnosis, and the increasing number of grandparents who are the primary caretakers for children who have lost their parents to the disease. It also aims to increase the use of protection against HIV infection, especially among Baby Boomers. This year’s theme is “Aging is a part of life; HIV doesn’t have to be.”
“The good news is that thanks to medical advances and increased access to healthcare, Massachusetts residents living with HIV enjoy longer, healthier, and full lives,” said Carl Sciortino, Executive Director of AIDS Action Committee. “The bad news is that the combination of living with HIV―including the persistent stigma related to this disease―and age-related conditions such as heart disease and diabetes can be very challenging physically and emotionally. Especially as the Baby Boomer population ages, we must continue to develop and implement programs for aging people living with the virus and those who need education about the transmission and prevention of HIV.” Especially as the Baby Boomer population ages, we must continue to develop and implement programs for aging people living with the virus and those who need education about the transmission and prevention of HIV.”—Carl Sciortino, ED, AIDS Action Committee”
To address the needs of the older population, AIDS Action offers free HIV testing and case management and housing services to HIV positive older adults. The organization also offers a comprehensive health and wellness support program for those 50 and older called Positive Aging, Lasting Strength (PALS). Additionally, AAC hosts weekly yoga and strength training sessions, weekly nutrition consultations and monthly health education groups.
Facts about HIV/AIDS and people over 50
- In Massachusetts, 44% of people living with HIV are 50 or older
- Nationally, it is expected that by 2015, 50% of people living with HIV will be 50 or older
- About 17% of newly diagnosed HIV infections are Americans age 50 and older.
- There are three types of older people living with HIV: people who have been living with the virus for many years; older people who are just learning their status; and those newly infected with HIV.
About AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts
AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is the state’s leading provider of prevention and wellness services for people vulnerable to HIV infection. It provides services to one in six people in Massachusetts living with an HIV diagnosis. These services include HIV counseling and testing; needle exchange; mental health counseling; housing assistance; and legal services. AIDS Action works to prevent new HIV infections, support those affected by HIV, and tackle the root causes of HIV/AIDS by educating the public and health professionals about HIV prevention and care; and advocating for fair and effective HIV/AIDS policy at the city, state, and federal levels. Founded in 1983, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is New England’s first and largest AIDS service organization. Learn more at www.aac.org.
[From a News Release]