HIV prevalence for over 50s has doubled

03 October 2014
An HIV ribbon

Global HIV prevalence among the over 50’s has doubled from 1995 to 2013, meaning that there are currently 4.2 million people living with HIV in this age group. In a recent study published ahead of print in AIDS journal, researchers compared UNAIDS estimates with national household surveys to confirm accuracy and consistency of the data for the over 50’s. They found the results to be reliably similar, and suggested that more work needs to be done to address the complex social and clinical needs of this group.

The increase in prevalence among the over 50’s means that accurately understanding the epidemic among this age group is vital for managing the HIV response. The study found that in the five-year age ranges above 50 years old, HIV prevalence has increased rapidly. The 50-54 age group has seen prevalence double in the time period studied, whilst prevalence increased by a third among the 55-59, and a quarter among the 60-64 groups. The highest burden of HIV among the over 50’s is in sub-Saharan Africa – with 2.5 million living with HIV; the lowest were in the Caribbean and the Middle East and North Africa. The study showed that both UNAIDS statistics and national household surveys have reported sharp increases over the last ten years specifically.

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