Older People Face Greater HIV Infection Risks: Study
March 4, 2009
Physicians are failing to diagnose HIV infection among older patients, even as many people over age 50 enjoy extended sex lives thanks to erectile dysfunction drugs, the World Health Organization reported Tuesday. Sexually active people age 50 and up are less likely to have protected sex than younger persons, and they are increasingly contracting HIV, WHO said.
"Since 1998, erectile dysfunction drugs have been extending the sex life of many older individuals and, at the same time, may be extending the HIV epidemic into older age groups," WHO said. "While erectile dysfunction is common and erectile dysfunction drugs are widely available in developing countries, no study has been done of their possible impact on the HIV epidemic, although their use in industrialized countries has been associated with risky safety practices."
HIV patients over age 50 account for about 8 percent of new HIV diagnoses in Europe and 11 percent in the United States. Risk factors among older patients' in developing countries have not been studied, nor are prevalence data available, but WHO said similar infection trends are likely occurring there.
The study, "The Unexplored Story of HIV and Ageing," was published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (2009;87(3):161-244).
03.03.2009; Laura MacInnis
Increasing Risk of HIV Among Older People, Doctors Failing to Diagnose Cases in Population, WHO Study Says
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.