More seniors are living with HIV/AIDS

There are more than 12 million Americans with HIV and more than a million people with AIDS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Washington, DC, a city with high HIV infection rates and 14,000 residents living with HIV, two in five people living with HIV are over the age of 50, as reported recently by the Huffington Post.

But despite the high infection rates among seniors, they are among the least likely to be aware of the dangers and consequences of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs).

“Older people ... they don't worry as much about sexually transmitted diseases. They don't see it as prevalent in their community as the younger generation does,” 55 year-old Gibby Thomas, an official with the city’s health department, was quoted as saying.

HIV/AIDS is primarily spread through both sexual contact and use of shared needles, and Washington, DC is spending $150,000 in efforts to educate their senior population about the disease, but commutating with older people may be as easy as communicating with teenagers.

One of the reasons it is a challenge for health departments and organizations to effectively outreach to Baby Boomers and seniors is because while many of them may be engaging in risky activities, sex and HIV/AIDS is still often a taboo topic, according to Michael Kharfen with the Department of Health.