HIV in older Americans: An epidemiologic perspective

Authors
Citation
R. Lieberman, HIV in older Americans: An epidemiologic perspective, J MIDWIFE W, 45(2), 2000, pp. 176-182
Citations number
24
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Public Health & Health Care Science
Journal title
JOURNAL OF MIDWIFERY & WOMENS HEALTH
ISSN journal
1526-9523 → ACNP
Volume
45
Issue
2
Year of publication
2000
Pages
176 - 182
Database
ISI
SICI code
1526-9523(200003/04)45:2<176:HIOAAE>2.0.ZU;2-R
Abstract
The elderly population is increasing as baby boomers are beginning to appro ach retirement. People 65 years of age or older already constitute approxim ately one eighth of the U.S. population; this proportion is expected to dou ble in the next 50 years. Older Americans have their own population-specifi c health challenges, such as Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, adult-onset diabetes, prostate cancer, menopause, and hypertension. Human immunodefici ency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) ar e seldom discussed within this community. Prevention, counseling, testing, and education efforts are not bring directed their way. In addition, few pr actitioners are experts both in HIV and health problems associated with agi ng, resulting in misdiagnosis, especially in the early stages when AIDS sym ptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, night sweats, and diminished appetite a re dismissed as part of the aging process. Very few HIV-related social support services have been aimed at the needs o f the elderly, perhaps because older Americans are not suspected to be sexu ally active or are assumed to be in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship . Older Americans are not suspected of drug use. Yet many are sexually acti ve, often demonstrating risky sexual behavior, such as dispensing with the use of condoms; and the isolation that frequently accompanies old age can l ead to alcoholism and injectable drug use. This article examines methods suggested in the literature both in terms of primary and secondary prevention of HIV/AIDS in older Americans. The cost o f these efforts is enumerated, and organizations who gear their efforts in reaching and educating older Americans regarding their risks are described. (C) 2000 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.