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UNAIDS Supplement Examines AIDS Epidemic Among People Age 50 and Older

November 6, 2013

"The shifting demographics of the AIDS epidemic demands a new focus to reach people aged 50 and over who are currently underserved by HIV services," UNAIDS said on Friday, the UN News Centre reports. "Out of the estimated global total of 35.3 million people living with HIV, an average 3.6 million are people aged 50 years or older, according to a new supplement [.pdf] to the 2013 UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic focused on the issue HIV and aging," the news service writes. "The supplement revealed that in high-income countries almost one-third of people living with HIV are 50 years or older," the news service notes, adding, "The majority of the population where the percentage of adults living with HIV is 50 years or older, is in low-and middle-income countries, however."

"The 'aging' of the HIV epidemic is due to three main factors: the success of antiretroviral therapy in prolonging the lives of people living with HIV, decreasing HIV incidence among younger adults shifting the disease burden to older ages, and that people aged 50 and above are engaging in risk taking behavior such as unprotected sex and injecting drug use which are leading to new HIV infections," according to the UN News Centre. "The supplement highlights that HIV prevention services, including HIV testing, tailored to the needs of people aged 50 and above, are essential and that these services should also reflect the needs of key populations in this age group," the news service adds (11/1).

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