January 23, 2013
According to the 2012 UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, there has been steady progress in delivering effective treatment to people living with HIV across the globe. With almost 8 million people in developing countries having access to anti-retroviral treatment (ART), it is predicted that individuals living with HIV will live into their 50s, 60s, and beyond.
Estimates suggest that by 2040, over 9 million people with HIV will be 50 or older in sub-Saharan Africa, triple that of current data. As a result, countries, such as Brazil and South Africa, are adding individuals over 50 to their list of key populations in need of HIV services.
Despite this, the 2012 UNAIDS report does not mention the aging of HIV. Because it does not include data on those aged 50 or older, the report is inaccurate and misleading. The report may lead some to believe that older adults do not have sex or engage in other risky behaviors. Furthermore, it omits the unknown interactions of HIV with aging processes, such as chronic and non-communicable diseases.
The lack of data not only prevents us from understanding HIV and aging, but also inhibits us from addressing the challenges of growing older with HIV. As an important leader in effectively ending the HIV epidemic through information and strategic guidance, we need UNAIDS to fully describe and act on behalf of all who are affect by HIV.
We urge individuals and organization to sign a letter -- sponsored by AIDS Community Research Initiative, HelpAge International, and Terrence Higgins Trust -- to UNAIDS requesting the UN to collect and report data on those with and at risk for HIV age 50 and older. We are looking for individual and organiazational endorsers. The closing date for sign-ons is Friday, January 25th.
Thank you for your involvement and action to end the HIV epidemic!