Not-for-Profit Group in Detroit Aims To Reach Elderly With HIV Prevention Messages Using Peer Counselors
Detroit, Mich.-based Urban Solutions -- a not-for-profit group that aims to reduce HIV transmission among elderly Detroit residents -- is using peer counselors to educate people ages 50 and older about HIV transmission, the Detroit News reports. According to the News, the spread of HIV among seniors "remains a growing concern," and the number of AIDS cases among heterosexual women ages 50 and older is increasing. In addition, 11% to 15% of AIDS cases in the U.S. occur among people over age 50, the News reports. HIV often is more difficult to detect in seniors because symptoms associated with the disease -- including weight loss, skin rashes, dementia, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue -- also are associated with aging, according to the News. In addition, many seniors do not practice safer sex because they associate condom use with birth control, the News reports. To address this, Urban Solutions as part of its Senior Solution Project has trained 13 peer counselors to speak with seniors about contraception, sexual practices and HIV transmission routes. According to Nancy Allen, founder and director of the group, the mission of educating seniors is important "because sometimes they have two or three generations listening to them. If we get seniors to support this, we can get the message out" (Hayes Taylor, Detroit News, 12/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.