Karen Turner PHD | Drastic Increase In HIV/AIDS Among Baby Boomer Population
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Drastic Increase In HIV/AIDS Among Baby Boomer Population

Drastic Increase In HIV/AIDS Among Baby Boomer Population

By Boomeryearbook.com


It’s hard to believe, but sadly it is true. There is a growing number of cases where Baby Boomers are contracting this life-altering disease. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2005 persons age 50 and older accounted for 15% of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. What many do not know is that sexual activity among seniors has increased over the years, especially with the introduction of Viagra.

A study from the University of Chicago found that “60 percent of men and 37 percent of women 50 years old and above report engaging in sexual intercourse a few times per month.” The problem with that is many do not use any form of protection because they feel that are past the age of worrying about pregnancy. Many times it is hard to even detect the disease due to the fact that many symptoms are similar to associated with common ailments that affect everyone.

In addition to contraction through intercourse, there has been a rise in HIV transmission through injection drug use. The CDC reports HIV transmission through injection drug use accounts for 16% of AIDS cases among those age 50 and older. Hard economic times and lack of marketable skills play their part in contributing to a large number of Baby Boomers being homeless with nowhere to go and no one to turn to. Many, therefore, are on the streets or in shelters. When race is taken into consideration, the numbers are even more staggering. The CDC states that the rates of HIV/AIDS among persons 50 and older were 12 times as high among blacks and 5 times as high among Hispanics compared with whites.

To add to this problem, many Boomers find it accept this fact that they have contracted HIV/AIDS. Then come the issues of how do they tell their families and friends? How long will they have to live? Many questions run through their heads and force them to hide the truth from those they love. Simply coping with this secret alone can make them sick and depressed.

It is important that this age group be educated just as much as younger age groups. There are many that do not have knowledge about the risk factors of unprotected sex, the disease itself, and the fact that there is hope. Many healthcare professionals do not discuss these facts with their patients because they are under the impression like most, older persons are not as sexually active and therefore they do not need to discuss that. Likewise misdiagnosis is prevalent because the symptoms resemble those of ageing and therefore the disease is detected at a later stage than with younger patients.

There are many routes that can be taken to inform Baby Boomers about protecting themselves and the possible signs of infection. First, this age group should be targeted with ads and other materials that give them accurate information and encourage them to get tested. There also classes and trainings in nursing homes that inform and not condemn, creating an environment where they feel safe.

It is important for family members to be supportive during this time of uncertainty and fear. Their compassion and care can be the difference between life and death. It is, also, important to realize the effect everyone’s attitude has on the situation. Choose to be positive. Know that this is not necessarily the end. There is hope! Do not give up or give in, instead fight! You are not alone and there are many communities out there that offer strong support for the infected person and family members. Take heart.

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