ORLANDO, FLA. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — September 18th is National HIV, AIDs, and Aging Awareness Day. It’s a day to combat the stigma faced by older Americans with HIV and to address aging-related challenges of HIV testing, prevention, and care. More than one-point-two million men and women are living with HIV in the United States. And today, getting a diagnosis is no longer a death sentence.

“I wasn’t told about you need to wear a condom,” describes Daniel Downer.

Downer has been living with HIV for decades, so has Andre Nelson.

“I’m my mother’s only child. I would break her heart if she had to bury me,” proclaims Nelson.

With medications, their HIV is almost undetectable and with success stories like Miguel who at a hundred was the oldest person living with HIV, we now know that you can live a long life with the virus.

“Is a very treatable condition if it’s caught early and treated early,” states Dr. Rachel Presti of the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis

But the fact is, one is seven people living with HIV don’t even know they have it. How much do you know about it? Question number one what percentage of the population has been tested? The answer, less than 40 percent! And experts believe many of those are older adults.

“A lot of people still get diagnosed late,” says Presti

Next question, are older adults at risk for HIV? According to the CDC over half of the people living with HIV are over 50. The fear of discussing sex puts themselves and their partners more at risk. The symptoms of HIV can also mimic those of aging, which one of these is not a symptom of HIV? That’s a trick question, all of these are signs of HIV and all these signs’ people without the virus can also experience as they age. Although people living with HIV now have the same or similar life expectancy to HIV-negative people, studies show that they may spend fewer of their years in good health. People living with HIV appear to have higher rates of illnesses typically associated with ageing, such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and kidney disease.

Also, a new study suggests that people living with HIV may be more likely to contract, be hospitalized, and die of covid-19.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/library/awareness/nhaad.html

https://nypost.com/2019/09/19/meet-the-hiv-positive-man-celebrating-his-100th-birthday/

https://www.hivplusmag.com/uu/2019/4/16/oldest-person-living-hiv-turns-100

https://www.advocate.com/health/2019/9/18/meet-100-year-old-man-living-hiv

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/National-HIV-AIDS-Strategy.pdf

https://theconversation.com/why-the-south-still-has-such-high-hiv-rates-76386#:~:text=But%20in%20the%20South%2C%20larger,%3B%20and%20Lowndes%20County%2C%20Alabama https://crewhealth.org/news-and-events/myths-debunked-the-truth-about-hiv-aids-aging/

https://www.aidsmap.com/about-hiv/life-expectancy-people-living-hiv

Contributors to this news report includes: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.

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