HIV Prevention: Older Adults Are Still At Risk

By Irene Guerrero , Feb 01, 2017 02:19 AM EST

Older adults are advised about HIV prevention. It is commonly known that older adults are not sexually active, however, a new study found otherwise. Researchers at Indiana University found that older men and women do maintain sexual relationships, even into their 80s and beyond.

Since older adults are mostly disregarded about sexual health education, the risk of having HIV is high. The study, conducted by Molly Rosenberg found that there are unmet needs for HIV prevention among older adults in sub-Saharan Africa. It is the first research on the HIV risk for older adults in that region.

Rosenberg said that they found out that older adults are sexually active, perform high risk sexual behavior, low condom use and multiple casual recent partners. These sexual behaviors could lead to transmission of HIV. The findings call for the immediate need of HIV testing, counselling that could change sexual behaviors and the help to reduce HIV transmission.

Researchers analyzed data from 5,059 men and women age 40 and older, conducted in rural Mpumalanga province in South Africa. Of those who volunteered 46 percent had no formal education, 46 percent were men and 51 percent were currently married. Older adults receive little attention when it comes to HIV prevention research. Resulting for older adults being a part of the growing numbers of people living with HIV.

HIV prevention measures focused on young adults, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where most of the world's 37 million people infected with HIV live. According to the Eureka Alert, the study calls for the inclusion of older adults in the HIV prevention education. Older adults are reported to decrease the usage of condoms during casual or anonymous sex.

According to the Medical Xpress, the study shows the first generation of South African people that age and living with HIV. One-third of the respondents was never tested for HIV. And among those who were positive in HIV did not know they have it. HIV prevention ads and information is needed globally.

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