Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Over 50

People over the age of 50 account for 15% of all newly diagnosed cases of HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 25% of people with HIV aren't aware they have it.

The CDC suggests everyone aged 13-64 get tested, reflecting the need to test older adults. If you are a sexually active adult, please notify your health practitioner. Many health care providers may assume that their older adult clients aren't sexually active and therefore not provide information on safer sex practices.

Women over 50, since they no longer are able to get pregnant, often engage in sexual activity without protection. The normal drying and thinning of the vagina in women over 50 increases susceptibility to HIV because of small cuts and tears.

If you are a woman over 50, and are sexually active, please consider the following recommendations from The National Institute on Aging:

  • Make sure you and your partner have been tested and are free of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections like Chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Use male or female condoms and lubricant every time you have sex.
  • Do not share needles or any other equipment used to inject drugs.
  • If you have ever injected drugs - even once many years ago - get tested for HIV and hepatitis C.
  • Get tested for HIV if you or your partner had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985, and get tested for hepatitis C if you had a blood transfusion before 1992.
  • Get tested for HIV and hepatitis C if you or your partner had an operation or blood transfusion in a developing country at any time.

Some of the symptoms for HIV, such as fatigue, weight changes, memory loss, and atherosclerosis can be confused for what some might consider "normal aging". Therefore, if you are experiencing these symptoms in what you feel is an inappropriate age, consider HIV testing.

The Boulder County Public Health Division provides:

  • Anonymous or confidential HIV tests with results in just 10 minutes for $35
  • Confidential hepatitis C test for $20

Call 303-413-7500 for an appointment

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