Dual Stigma - HIV Positive and Over 50 - NextAvenue 070519
July 5, 2019

Dual Stigma: HIV Positive and Over Fifty

By Grace Birnstengel

HIV/AIDS used to be considered a disease of the young. In the early 1980s, when doctors first reported cases of HIV, nearly 70% of diagnoses were among people under 40.

Fast forward four decades later and more than 50% of Americans with HIV are now over 50. And by 2020 that number is expected to reach 65% to 70%. This is largely due to major medical improvements in the effectiveness of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in suppressing the virus and transforming HIV from an often fatal disease into a chronic condition, like diabetes or hypertension.

But health care, services and supports for Americans with HIV/AIDS hasn’t adapted its approaches to match this demographic shift. Prevention, testing and care efforts are focused on younger people…

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