There are now more older people living with HIV than ever before. New data shows an estimated 4.2 million people aged 50 years or older were living with HIV in 2013.
This means the prevalence of HIV among older people has more than doubled in two decades. The success of antiretroviral treatment (ART) and a high rate of new infections among older people are cited as the main causes for the increase in numbers.
In high-income countries such as Australia, the life expectancy of an HIV-positive person (on ART and able to maintain viral suppression) is similar to that of an HIV-negative person. A comparable trend is seen in sub-Saharan Africa where average life expectancy for PLHIV has increased considerably during the past decade.
The authors of the data say HIV responses need to address the specific needs of older positive people while more attention needs to focus on HIV prevention for the over 50s.