Growth in HIV among over 50s and ED drug-users
HIV infections among the over 50s have more than doubled in the last seven years. HIV is the infection that can lead to AIDS.
Other sexually transmitted diseases appear to be up among this age group too. And the reason could be the incresing use of drugs to treat erections problems.
The HIV increase is of particular concern as there is evidence that older people are more likely to be diagnosed late making treatment more difficult. Half of the over 50s diagnosed during that period were diagnosed late compared with a third in younger adults.
Study co-author Dr Valerie Delpech, head of HIV surveillance at the Health Protection Agency said: ‘Although adults aged 50 and over account for just 8% of all new HIV diagnoses, the fact that cases have more than doubled in recent years serves as a timely reminder that anybody is at risk of HIV infection if they do not use protection and practice safe sex.
‘HIV remains a serious infection particularly when diagnosed late. The fact that we’ve seen an increase in the number of older adults getting diagnosed, and in particular getting diagnosed late, highlights the need for raised awareness in that age group.’
First author Ruth Smith, a senior HIV scientist at the HPA’s Centre for Infections said: ‘We estimate that nearly half of older adults diagnosed between 2000 and 2007 were infected at age 50 or over and this highlights the importance of HIV testing – whatever your age.
There is concern that older people are less aware of ‘safe sex, use a condom’ type messages as traditional sexual health camapigns have not primarily targeted this age group.
‘We must continually reinforce the safe sex message,’ said Ruth Smith. ‘Using a condom with all new or casual partners is the surest way to ensure people do not become infected with a serious sexually transmitted infection such as HIV.’
ED drugs users at risk
Meanwhile, research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that among men who use drugs for erectile dysfunction (ED) the rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), particularly HIV, are around double the levels among non ED-drug users both before and after use of these drugs.
Page created on July 22nd, 2010
Page updated on July 22nd, 2010