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Sex, AIDS, and the Elderly

Mitchell D. Feldman, MD, MPhil
Arch Intern Med. 1994;154(1):19-20. doi:10.1001/archinte.1994.00420010027004.
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AS WE ENTER the second decade of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and AIDS remain a significant problem for older Americans in the United States. Ten percent of AIDS cases in the United States have been diagnosed in patients 50 years of age or older since the Centers for Disease Control began compiling demographic data in the early 1980s, and persons over the age of 60 years account for 25% of these cases.1

THE SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM  Despite these striking numbers, the response from policy makers has been lackluster. Few research projects and public health initiatives are specifically targeted at AIDS risk behavior in older Americans. Contrast this, for example, with the resources brought to bear on the important problem of HIV infection in the youngest Americans, those aged 5 years or under, who constitute only 1% of AIDS cases.Why have


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