Home care mission: Educate seniors about HIV and AIDS

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 45% of Americans living with diagnosed HIV are age 50 or older. Additionally, about 1 in 6 new diagnoses of the disease in the U.S. is in people age 50 or older.

Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day.  Recent statistics indicate that there are about 1.1 million people infected with HIV in the United States, and about 15 percent of these people are unaware of their infection

Help raise awareness of this deadly disease and how you’re helping those who have it.

  • Visit the New York State’s Department of Health’s brochures, booklets & posters page for tons of educational materials about AIDS, HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
  • While you’re there, be sure to check out the brochure “Living and Aging with HIV.” Provide this to
  • Visit with your local infectious disease specialists and discuss the benefits hospice or home health can have for their patients with AIDS, including reduced hospitalizations and increased adherence to difficult treatment regimens. Stock their waiting rooms with disease-specific flyers personalized to your agency.
  • Partner with other health care providers in your community to provide free HIV tests to your community.
  • Make an effort this month to spread the message of HIV and AIDS awareness to the seniors in your community. This group often doesn’t discuss safe sex and other precautions to avoid contracting the disease. Since pregnancy no longer is a concern for sexually active seniors, they often forego contraception and leave themselves open to contracting HIV or another infection. Additionally, studies show that older adults know less about the disease than younger people and may not know how it spreads. Visit the AIDS Institute’s website for National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness – be sure to also check out their page for National HIV/Aids and Aging Awareness Day. Print out flyers about the disease and have discussions about this important topic in senior centers, ALFs and ILFs in your service area.
  • Offer free HIV tests and company-branded condoms at these discussions with seniors about AIDS. Call TAG at 866-232-6477 to learn more about options for condoms in custom-printed wrappers.
  • Include an article about HIV/AIDS in your next newsletter and encourage your readers to be tested for the disease.
  • Contact your local HIV/AIDS awareness organization and offer to speak to its members about coping with the illness and how your services can help.