Post submitted by Noël Gordon, former HRC Senior Program Specialist for HIV Prevention and Health Equity.

Today, September 18, marks National HIV & Aging Awareness Day, an opportunity to focus our attention on the impact of HIV and AIDS on older Americans.

Rev. MacArthur Flournoy, HRC Director of Faith Partnerships & Mobilization, has been living with HIV for more than 28 years.

“There is a certain desolation that comes with being alienated by those you love, when you need them the most,” said Flournoy. “But we have made tremendous progress. Over the last three decades, science, treatments, and community attitudes have all changed for the better. There is hope, including for older people living with, and affected by, HIV.”

Fast Facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Adults over the age of 50 accounts for 17 percent of all new HIV diagnoses and 29 percent of all persons living with HIV.
  • By 2015, more than half of all people living with HIV in the United States will be over the age of 50.
  • Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to be diagnosed with HIV later in the course of the disease.

Prevention Challenges:

  • Lack of knowledge about HIV- Many older Americans are unaware of the current realities of HIV prevention, treatment, and care, even though research shows that older adults - LGBT or not - are sexually active well into their mid-80s
  • Discrimination - While many older Americans report being uncomfortable talking to their healthcare providers about sex, the challenges are particularly acute for LGBT Americans over the age of 50, who often delay medical care out of fear of discrimination.
  • Stigma and isolation - Stigma is a particular concern among older Americans because they may already face isolation due to illness or loss of family and friends. Stigma prevents many older Americans from getting tested or treated for HIV.

Ways to Learn More and Get Involved:

HRC is committed to working with our allies, partners, members, and supporters to end the HIV epidemic and the stigma surrounding HIVClick here to learn more.

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