Half of the HIV/AIDS population in the United States will be 50 or older by 2015, a pivotal development that brings new challenges to the treatment and prevention of the disease, experts told a congressional panel Wednesday.
Drug resistance, other diseases, high rates of depression and a lack of prevention, screening and early diagnosis could all pose significant problems as the population of Americans with HIV or AIDS ages, they said during a hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.
As research for a cure for AIDS continues, there is a vital need to examine the aging AIDS population, since any drug or vaccine must now work on an older population, said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., the committee’s chairman.
Older Americans tend to take fewer precautions against HIV, get diagnosed later and respond less to antiretroviral therapy, said Dr. Ronald O. Valdiserri, a top infectious diseases official with the Department of Health and Human Services.
Older people with HIV are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, cancer, and liver and kidney disease, as well as depression, the experts said.
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Aging AIDS population causes new challenges for health care system