New York City Provides No-Cost Condoms, HIV Tests to Elderly in Effort To Prevent Spread of Virus
The New York City Department for the Aging is providing no-cost condoms and HIV tests to the city's elderly population in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus throughout the group, the AP/Forbes reports. According to Bernard Branson, associate director for laboratory diagnostics in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at CDC, people ages 50 to 64 accounted for 14% of new HIV diagnoses in 2005, and people ages 65 and older accounted for about 2% of diagnoses.
According to a study conducted last year by the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America, the majority of people living with HIV/AIDS in New York City will be over age 50 within the next 10 years. Edwin Mendez-Santiago, New York City's commissioner of aging, said, "Often, older people do not concern themselves with HIV and AIDS because they assume that they are not at risk, and that can be a tragic mistake." In an effort to promote HIV prevention and education among the elderly, the New York City Council has budgeted $1 million, the AP/Forbes reports.
Dan Tietz, executive director of the AIDS research initiative, said HIV education is needed at New York City senior centers, where the average age is about 70, because "we know that people are still having sex well past 65."
According to the AP/Forbes, smaller campaigns aimed at the elderly also are under way in other cities, including Baltimore. Nancy Orel, a professor of gerontology at Bowling Green State University is organizing a workshop for seniors that will provide no-cost condoms and HIV tests (Matthews, AP/Forbes, 7/25).