AIDS Project New Haven Launches Program To Educate Older Women About HIVAIDS Project New Haven in Connecticut has launched an initiative aimed at educating postmenopausal women about HIV/AIDS in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus among older women, the New Haven Register reports. The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies on AIDS at Yale University is partnering with APNH on the initiative, called Wise Women Win.
Six women older than age 50 recently received training to participate in the program as mentors and educators to other women ages 50 and older, APNH program coordinator Nick Boshnack said. These women then recruit other women to join a group in which they provide education about HIV/AIDS and safer-sex practices and help spread the messages among seniors. Senior centers, residential developments and retail stores have participated in the program.
According to the Register, many older women have little knowledge about HIV/AIDS but engage in unprotected sex because they are not concerned about pregnancy. Although some people consider seniors to be at low risk of HIV, many are still sexually active and at risk of contracting the virus. "There are women who are sexually active after divorce or after they are widowed," Boshnack said, adding that older women are not familiar with HIV prevention because the virus "wasn't around" when they first began having sex.
HIV is rising rapidly in women older than age 50, according to a report from the AIDS Research Institute at the University of California-San Francisco. In 2005, people older than age 50 accounted for 19% of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses, 29% of people living with HIV/AIDS and 36% of deaths from AIDS-related causes, according to CDC (Garriga, New Haven Register, 4/2). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.