For Immediate Release
Travis Barnhardt, KDHE, 785-296-1037
TOPEKA, Kan. - September 18 is National HIV and Aging Awareness Day.
Many people do not associate HIV and AIDS with people aged 50 and older. In 2008, adults 50 years and older represented more than 23 percent of the total U.S. population living with HIV. By 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that half of the people living with HIV infection in the United States will be 50 years of age or older.
National HIV and Aging Awareness Day first started in 2008 to highlight the complex issues related to HIV prevention, care and treatment for aging populations in the United States. The goal of the campaign is to emphasize the need for prevention, research and data focused on the aging population, and to increase medical understanding of the aging process and its impact on HIV/AIDS. The campaign encourages people aged 50 and over to be aware of their risks for HIV and to get tested regularly. You can learn more about this awareness day by visiting The AIDS Institute website at www.theaidsinstitute.org.
In the U.S., HIV and AIDS continue to disproportionately affect gay and bisexual men. National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which is Sept. 27, calls attention to this disparity. About half of the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. today are gay and bisexual men, and according to CDC estimates, one in five HIV-positive gay or bisexual men do not know they are infected. This awareness day encourages gay and bisexual men to practice safe behaviors and to get tested regularly. You can learn more about this awareness day by visiting the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) website at www.napwa.org.
Knowing your HIV status now and getting proper healthcare if you are HIV-positive is much better than waiting until it’s too late. Free testing is available at many local health departments and community-based organizations by visiting www.hivtest.org.