Maryland: AIDS Programs Target a Surprising Group Making Up a Growing Percentage of New Cases in the State
March 4, 2005
The number of Americans age 50 and over with AIDS quintupled during an 11-year span to more than 90,000 by the end of 2001, according to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Public and private health groups are launching educational campaigns and conferences to address the growing number of HIV/AIDS cases among Maryland residents ages 50 and older.
While new HIV/AIDS cases in Maryland decreased by one-third from 1994 to 2003, residents ages 50 and older accounted for a growing proportion of total cases, according to the state's 2004 HIV/AIDS Annual Report. In 2003, residents over 50 comprised 15.6 percent of HIV and 17.8 percent of AIDS cases, compared with 5.6 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively, in 1994.
Elizabeth Wexler, coordinator of Jewish Family Services' Steven Kaufman AIDS Outreach Project, recently discussed STDs, HIV and AIDS at the Catonsville Senior Center and another senior center in Parkville. Her approach to seniors is not one of "this could happen to you" but rather informative and respectful of their experiences, she said. "They listened, and they asked a tremendous amount of questions." Wexler's talks grew out of contacts she initiated with individual centers.
On Tuesday, Baltimore County's Department of Aging was set to begin a health department-based program eventually engaging all 19 senior centers in the county. The program will also hold a half-day conference for health care professionals. With federal funding, New York-based Health Watch is also working with Baltimore to do needs assessments and train health care providers and others to reach African Americans over 50 living with or at risk of HIV.
03.01.2005; Lisa Goldberg
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.