Nearly one out of six people testing positive for HIV in Europe are 50 or older. What’s more, compared with their younger peers, these Europeans are more likely to be heterosexual and have advanced HIV, according to a study published in The Lancet HIV and reported on by Reuters.
“Our findings suggest a new direction in which the HIV epidemic is evolving. This potentially is a result of older people’s low awareness of HIV and how it is transmitted,” said Lara Tavoschi, lead researcher at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) which conducted the study. The results also reveal a need for testing and prevention programs tailored to older adults.
The study looked at new HIV cases in 28 European Community (EU) countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway between 2004 and 2015. During that time, 54,000 people 50 and older were diagnosed with HIV, and 312,500 people ages 15 to 49 were diagnosed.
Rates of diagnoses among older people increased in 16 countries including Britain, Belgium, Germany and Ireland. According to Reuters, the ECDC report fond that the highest rates for folks 50 and older were in Estonia, Latvia, Malta and Portugal.
To learn the basics about HIV in older populations, read HIV and Aging. For related content click on #Aging or read our recent POZ cover story “Close to You: Aging With HIV Doesn’t Have to Mean Living Without Love.”