Old and HIV infected? Get your facts right

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Feb 02, 2013

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HIVAs most adults engage in more of sexual acts, consequently most of them are likely to be infected with HIV.

In most cases, HIV has been seen as a disease of young population but it is a syndrome of middle aged too. People who have crossed 50 years of age or more are more prone to HIV infection, say doctors. This poses new threats as the individual has to cope with ageing as well as the disease.
Way to avert HIV Infections

Here are few of the ways by which you can avert HIV infection:

•    Get acquainted with your HIV status: Doctors advise that if you’ve had unprotected sex with a new partner in last five years or so, then you must get yourself tested for HIV. One should know that the HIV test is an easy blood test and result comes out in a week.

•    Know your partner’s sexual history: One must always ask about their partner’s medical history, even though it may feel a bit odd.

•    Awareness: HIV is contracted in the same ways – whether the person is old or young. However, the older lot may not be as aware as the younger populace and thus be ignorant about the ways to protect themselves from HIV transmission.

•    Other Health Concerns: Strong antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) were not available when the first studies of HIV in older people were conducted. Therefore, the studies showed that older people got sicker and died sooner than the younger ones – thought to be because of their weaker immune systems. Besides, older people generally have more underlying health concerns than just HIV, which complicates the selection of anti-HIV medications. They can also be confused with some of the side effects of HIV drugs.

•    Practice safe sex: For all kind of sex, be it anal, oral or vaginal, make it a point to use latex condoms or dental dams.

With the progress in HIV drugs and therapy that promise a normal life expectancy, older people diagnosed with HIV can thus hope for a better life than their counterparts 10-15 years ago. It is never too late to take precautionary measures. Government health centers and NGOs need to shift their attention to organizing HIV awareness camps, television advertisements and campaigns for the older people.

After all, an aware citizen thus makes for a healthy citizen – whether a teenager or a 55-year old!

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