July 10, 2011

July 10, 2011
HIV-AIDS Becoming Big Concern For 50Plus

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Sunday and I hope you are having a safe and great weekend so far. Dab the AIDS Bear are finishing up the last of the events in our latest city today and then heading back to south Florida for a couple of days.

This coming March I will be turning 50 years old and becoming part of the AARP generation. Now while I have been an AARP advocate for over five years, I will finally be able to join and get all the great benefits the organization offers those 50 plus.

But how does turning 50 and HIV meet?

Health organizations have spent years trying to educate the public on how to prevent AIDS. But now they are targeting one specific group: people 50 and older, the new face of HIV/AIDS.

More and more senior citizens are becoming infected. Brenda Boone is one of them.

“I consider myself more than blessed to be living with HIV for such a long period of time, especially with the benefit of medication,” the 61 year old told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

Boone has lived with AIDS for more than 20 years, but is now educating other seniors about the dangers of unprotected sex, something they do not talk about.

“We go out and let them know there is nothing wrong with having sex. It is what you do to protect yourself,” Boone said.

Forty three percent of people currently living with HIV/AIDS in the United States are over the age of 50.

“Not in this day and age. It does not surprise me one bit,” Bob Van Orden of New Brunswick said when asked if he is surprised by that statistics. Adding he would not be surprised to hear that people are still sexually active into their 70s.

Doctor Monique Howard said they are, especially men in their 60 and 70s that have access to Viagra. And older women, she said, are more at risk.

“A woman that is 60 - 65 - 70 does not have to worry about pregnancy prevention. Condom use is not something that is in her radar,” Dr. Howard said.

“Arthritis and all the other things we have to go through, HIV should not be one of them,” Boone added.

That is the message I hope my peers are getting.

Educators said senior citizens also fail to get tested for AIDS and in most cases their doctors do not think they have to test them regardless of sexual orientation.

In Florida, Senior citizens are one of the fastest growing groups being diagnosed with HIV. So there is reason for alarm. Not only are older Americans more likely to be on Medicare and/or underinsured, but they also are complicating their golden year with having to deal with HIV.

Not to mention the states that have ADAP waiting lists, so these individuals have more trouble accessing government assistance in getting their life saving anti-HIV medications.

Now you know the rest of the story. Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab