HIV a Threat to Those Age 50 and Older

ALBANY, N.Y., Sept. 20 (UPI) — Older adults should take precautions to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS, says New York’s health commissioner, noting it is not just a disease of the young.

“There is a misperception among some people that persons age 50 and older don’t get infected with HIV — that it is something that just younger people need to worry about,” Dr. Richard F. Daines, New York state commissioner of health, said in a statement.

“But the data in New York state clearly shows that being 50 or 60 years of age doesn’t protect you from acquiring this disease.”

Daines says the state department of health’s AIDS institute has collected data showing an increasing number of adults age 50 and older are living with HIV/AIDS in New York, partly due to highly effective medications that have prolonged their lives, but some are newly diagnosed and recently infected.

More than 47,000 New Yorkers age 50 and older are currently living with HIV/AIDS in the state, 38 percent of all people living with human immunodeficiency virus in the state, versus 23 percent five years earlier.

In 2008, 764 people age 50 and older were newly diagnosed with HIV in the state, but of the newly diagnosed cases, nearly half had already progressed to AIDS or did so within a year of diagnosis, indicating they were diagnosed “late” and had probably been infected for years, Daines says.

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