Elderly people remain to be a large group among those with AIDS over recent years. According to the CDC, in 2018, over half of the people in the United States and dependent areas with diagnosed HIV were aged 50 and older; 1 in 6 new HIV diagnoses were in this age group.
The elderly are still at risk of HIV infection as younger people do, and effective prevention and timely treatment can make a big impact on their life.
Persistent and effective prevention measures can keep you and your partners from HIV infections.
Condoms stand as a highly effective option to prevent both HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Using them every time you have sex can effectively prevent HIV infection.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV prevention option. It means people at risk for HIV take daily medicine to lower their chances of getting HIV. When taken consistently, PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body and therefore reduce your chance of getting HIV.
You need to know your HIV status so you can take medicine to treat it when you have the virus. HIV testing is free, fast, and confidential. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 gets tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. A general rule for those with risk factors is to get tested annually.
It’s convenient to have HIV self-tests at home or other private locations. You can have an oral fluid self-test producing results within 20 minutes or a main-in self-test in which case you send the dried blood sample to a lab for testing and the results will be provided by a health care provider.
While there’s no cure for HIV, there are effective treatments that enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.
If you suspect you’ve been exposed to the virus, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) medicine may stop you from becoming infected. PEP is recommended after higher risk exposure, particularly when the sex partner is positive. It must be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex.
If you’re diagnosed with HIV, start treatment as soon as possible. HIV is treated with antiretroviral medications, which can stop the virus from replicating in the body. Timely treatment can lower your viral load and prevent the immune system from further damage, while delayed treatment may lead to a higher risk of developing AIDS. Remember to follow your treatment plan persistently as your health care provider has prescribed.
As terrible as HIV infection can be, effective prevention and timely treatment measures are helping more people to fight against it. You can protect you and your partners through your efforts.