The Graying of HIV in Baltimore

What does that statement mean? The "graying" of HIV?! 

It means that among HIV-positive people in Baltimore, the percentage of those who are older is increasing. More and more adults with HIV are surviving into old age, which is a testament to the profound improvements in HIV/AIDS treatment.

Recently, Baltimore was host to The Graying of HIV Conference, which addressed the challenges and needs of an aging HIV population.

In Baltimore City, it is estimated that 30% of HIV-positive people are now over 50 years old. Because of successful medication regimens, it is expected that these people will survive into their 70s and 80s.

Even more interesting is the fact that there has been an increase in newly-infected adults over the age of 50. Why might this happen? There are many reasons:
  • Older adults do not usually request STD tests
  • Doctors do not typically advise their elderly patients to have an STD test, even though they are sexually active and possibly at-risk
  • The symptoms of HIV often are similar to the symptoms of aging, so HIV can sometimes be missed without an actual test
  • HIV/AIDS literature is geared toward younger generations, giving the impression it does not affect older adults.
The ultimate result is that many HIV-positive adults over the age of 50 are diagnosed with HIV at a later stage. This can lead to complications as these adults might have certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes.

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