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AIDS and Older Americans at the End of the Twentieth Century

Mack Karin A.; Ory, Marcia G.
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: June 1st, 2003
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Summary:In the past 11 years, the cumulative number of AIDS cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in adults aged 50 years or older quintupled, from 16,288 in 1990 to 90,513 by the end of December 2001. This article provides an overview of AIDS cases through 2001, shows the growing totals of AIDS cases among persons aged 50 years or older, and describes and compares these cases with those among younger people. It also reviews work on perceptions of persons aged 50 years or older on their risk for contracting HIV and their preventive health practices. Most of the data for this article came from the CDC web site and the AIDS public use data set. Although the incidence of AIDS appears to be leveling off in the general population, the data show that older people as a group represent a substantial share of new cases. There are currently more than 60,000 persons estimated to be aged 50 years or older living with AIDS in the United States; more than 50,000 persons with AIDS in this age group have died since the epidemic began. In light of the new era of highly active antiretroviral therapy, it can be expected that the AIDS epidemic will continue to age in multifaceted ways.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Karin A. Mack, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Adult and Community Health, 4770 Buford Highway NE, K 66, Atlanta, GA 30341. E-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.