How Are Older Adults Infected?
The same way younger people are infected. Most infected older adults participate in one or more of these risky behaviors:
- Men having sex with men
- Injection drug use
- Unprotected heterosexual sex
What Do We Know About Infection in Older Adults?
- Male-to-male contact is still the most frequent route of HIV transmission among those 50 and older.(Maes and Louis, 2003)
- The proportion of older adults who are exposed to HIV through male-to-male contact decreases with older age groups. Exposure to HIV with injection drugs declined with age. Exposure to HIV with heterosexual contact increases with age.(Emlet and Farkasa, 2002)
- Sexual contact is the most common risk factor; IV drug use is next.(Lieberman, 2000)
- Heterosexual contact accounts for the most rapid growth in infection. Over 50% of minority women report transmission through heterosexual contact with bisexual men or with men who use injectable drugs.(Lieberman, 2000)
- Cases where older adults report infection from heterosexual contact or no risk factor are increasing. Cases when older adults report male-to-male contact are decreasing.(Rees, 2003)
- Older adults who participate in risky behaviors are less likely than younger adults who have the same risky behaviors to use HIV/AIDS prevention methods.(Strombeck and Levy, 1998)
||A woman who has spoken out about her infection with HIV. Jane was one of the founders of the National Association on HIV over Fifty (www.hivoverfifty.com), Jane became infected through heterosexual contact with a man she was dating in the mid 1980s.
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