National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day - September 18
September 18 National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, launched by the AIDS Institute in 2008. It aims to raise awareness of the challenges faced by aging populations who live with HIV, which include: HIV prevention, treatment, and care; and HIV-related comorbidities, coinfections, and other complications (CCC).
Thanks to some startling advances in treatment, people with HIV are living longer than ever. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost half of Americans living with HIV are over 50.
Since the discovery of effective antiretroviral therapy (ART), people with HIV are living longer and healthier lives. However, as they age, people with HIV are at greater risk of developing chronic illnesses than people without HIV of similar age. Although antiretroviral therapy is critical to treatment, current ART regimens can lead to harmful side effects, interactions with other medications, drug resistance, and other complications.\
In recognition of these challenges, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) established within its overarching HIV research priorities a plan to conduct research to bolster the scientific understanding of CCC and to improve the health outcomes of people with HIV across National HIV/AIDS & Aging Awareness Day Logothe lifespan.
This is particularly important because some infections are more common in aging populations of people with HIV including tuberculosis (TB), hepatitis B and C, human papillomavirus (HPV), and other sexually transmitted infections, which are conditions that may be affected by HIV treatment. For example, research has found that TB interacts with HIV and complicates the treatment outcomes for both diseases. Other diseases of the cardiovascular system, kidneys, liver, cognitive function, malignancies, and metabolic bone disease also appear to be more common among people with HIV.
Although older people have many of the same risk factors for HIV infection as younger individuals, they face some unique challenges including:
- women past childbearing age are less likely to practice safer sex with condoms;
- age-related thinning and dryness of vaginal tissue can raise older women’s risk for HIV infection;
- older people are less likely than younger people to discuss their sexual or drug use behaviors with their doctors; and
- doctors are not as likely to ask older patients about these health behaviors.
Observing the National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day
Talk to your family about HIV and aging
Though it may be a difficult conversation, you may want to talk to an older member of your family about getting tested for HIV.
Have a little faith
It's important for communities to engage faith leaders in topics related to the observance of National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day.
Spread the news on social media
Make sure people know about National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other popular social media platforms.
According to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 34,800 new HIV infections occurred in the United States in 2019. Annual infections in the U.S. have been reduced by more than two-thirds since the height of the epidemic in the mid-1980s. Further, CDC estimates of annual HIV infections in the United States show hopeful signs of progress in recent years. CDC estimates show new HIV infections declined 8% from 37,800 in 2015 to 34,800 in 2019, after a period of general stability.
- Approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV. About 13 percent of them don’t know it and need testing.
- HIV continues to have a disproportionate impact on certain populations, particularly racial and ethnic minorities and gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.
- In 2019, an estimated 34,800 new HIV infections occurred in the United States.
- New HIV infections declined 8% from 37,800 in 2015 to 34,800 in 2019, after a period of general stability.
- In 2019, 36,801 people received an HIV diagnosis in the U.S. and 6 dependent areas—an overall 9% decrease compared with 2015.
- HIV diagnoses are not evenly distributed across states and regions. The highest rates of new diagnoses continue to occur in the South.
Why the National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day is Important
We think the AIDS Institute says it best: "National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day focuses on the challenging issues facing the aging population with regards to HIV prevention, testing, care, and treatment." This observance provides the space for us to better understand the effects of HIV among aging populations — and to share our newly-found knowledge with others. On National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, communities can come together to participate in awareness-raising activities and events.
National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day Webpages:
Research Related to HIV/AIDS and Aging:
NIH Strategic Plan for HIV and HIV-Related Research (FY 2019-2020), from the NIH Office of AIDS Research (OAR): The Plan describes NIH research priorities to prevent, treat, and eventually cure HIV/AIDS. Aging is a consideration across areas of NIH HIV research.
HIV/AIDS-Related Clinical Trials: Research studies pertaining to HIV and aging, from the ClinicalInfo clinical trials search. For help with your search, call ClinicalInfo at 1-800-448-0440.
Published Research Related to HIV/AIDS and Aging:
Fact sheets on HIV and aging:
HIV treatment recommendations for older adults:
Department of Health and Human Services Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Adults and Adolescents Living with HIV: Older Patients with HIV, from ClinicalInfo
A comprehensive collection of resources:
HIV Source: Specific Populations: Aging Adults, from the HIV info