HIV-Positive 65-Year-Old Aims to Show Seniors ‘AIDS Doesn’t Discriminate,’ People Reports
Former reporter Jane Fowler -- HIV-positive and 65 years old -- is working to educate seniors on the fundamentals of AIDS, teaching them that their age doesn't protect them from the disease, People magazine reports in a profile of Fowler. "I decided to put another face to the epidemic -- an old wrinkled face -- to show people that HIV doesn't discriminate," Fowler said. AIDS among the elderly has jumped 360% over the last decade, People reports. Fowler believes she contracted the disease on New Year's Eve, 1985. Fifty years old and "unlikely to get pregnant," the divorced journalist saw no need for protection when she had sex with a colleague whom she had casually dated for some time. After an insurance provider denied her coverage because of an abnormal blood test, Fowler discovered she was HIV-positive. Until 1995, Fowler tried to hide her disease, but after she learned her former New Year's date had died, "she decided to speak out." That year she co-founded the National Association on HIV Over 50, which helps provide information and health and social services to those affected by the disease. Today, her disease kept under control with the help of drugs, she travels the country sharing her story with other seniors and offering them the same "safe-sex message" that younger people have heard for years. "I am a poster girl for a health cause that is neither chic nor pretty," she said (Purnell/Breu, People, 12/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.