UNAIDS warns of growing HIV burden among older peopleListen /
The prevalence of HIVAIDS amongst people aged 50 years and over is on the rise worldwide, according to a new study released by UNAIDS, the Joint UN Programme on HIVAIDS.
The study says 3.6 million people aged 50 years and over are living with HIV, the majority of them 2.9 million in the developing world.
UNAIDS says at least 100,000 people aged 50 years and over were contracting HIV every year through a combination of risky behaviours found in younger people such as unprotected sex and injecting drug use.
UNAIDS is calling from an upscale of HIV prevention and control services for people aged 50 and over, noting that their mortality was much higher compared to younger people due to other age-related health complications.
Peter Ghys, is the Chief of Data at UNAIDS.
"We recommend that there be specific attention for the needs of this population group and this comes in a few areas. First of all to make sure that awareness campaigns and prevention programmes generally address this specific age group because sometimes those campaigns may just have a more narrow focus. That treatment be started early also for people of 50 and above because the survival of people that are receiving treatment is extended for all age groups but somehow people that are in the older age groups are more vulnerable and that their survival is comparatively shorter and finally that health services need to be integrated for this age groups since they are an aging group, they will present other health conditions that in themselves also need treatment."
According to UNAIDS, about 35 million people are living with HIV worldwide.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.