Florida AIDS Group Uses Traveling Watercolor Exhibit Depicting Older Men and Women With AIDS to Raise Awareness
The Jewish AIDS Network of South Florida is using portraits of older men and women with AIDS to convey AIDS awareness to local seniors, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported yesterday in a profile of the exhibit. The Jewish AIDS Network's "Showing Seniors With AIDS" exhibit consists of eight "vivid" watercolors depicting men and women ages 50 to 62 who have AIDS. The exhibit has traveled throughout Broward County for the past two years as a way to teach seniors that HIV/AIDS is not only a disease of the young. Josh Estrin, director of the Jewish AIDS Network of South Florida, said that most older adults believe that "AIDS and HIV attack only the young" and do not have to use condoms once they are no longer at risk for pregnancy. But seniors represent "one of the fastest-growing segments of the AIDS population," the Sun-Sentinel reports. Men and women ages 50 and older represent 13% of the total AIDS population in Broward County and 17% of the AIDS population in Palm Beach County. A 1996 survey conducted by the Sun-Sentinel found that among the 1,102 Florida residents ages 65 and older with AIDS, 25% contracted HIV through heterosexual sex. Dr. Wilma Siegel, a retired oncologist who painted the watercolors in the exhibit, said that HIV-positive seniors also face a number of problems unique to their age group. Seniors with AIDS are more likely to hide the disease from their neighbors, and those who fall ill have a more difficult time recovering because of other medical problems. The seniors portrayed in the exhibit urged medical professionals to remind seniors about the importance of AIDS, condoms and HIV testing (Lade, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 1/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.