September 18, 2010
September 18 is the third annual observance of National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day. This day highlights the importance of preventing HIV infection in elderly people and the need for greater understanding of and ability to address the challenges of aging with HIV/AIDS.
According to the latest surveillance data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2007 an estimated 170,140 people aged 50 years old and older were living with HIV, which accounted for 29.3% of all people living with HIV. Among people aged 50 years and older, it is estimated that 6,788 new cases of HIV developed in 2008, accounting for 16.4% of new HIV diagnoses.
Each year, the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Office of AIDS Research (OAR) develops a Trans-NIH Plan for HIV-Related Research. Research related to HIV and aging is discussed throughout the document. Some of the key issues addressed include:
- How HIV progresses in older versus younger adults
- How HIV and antiretroviral medications affect older adults who have other, age-related diseases
- How HIV affects the physical and cognitive declines seen in old age
- Which factors affect adherence in older adults
- Which factors affect HIV risk and transmission in older adults
- How long-term HIV infection and treatment affect natural aging and conversely how natural aging affects long-term HIV infection and treatment