HELPAGE INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
For release: Tuesday 1 December 2015
PEG: World AIDS Day 2015 – The ageing of HIV
A fast-track approach is needed to address the rapid ageing of the AIDS epidemic and the needs of people living with HIV in older age, says HelpAge International.
In the last three years alone, the number of people in the world aged 50 and over living with HIV has risen from 3.6 million to 5.5 million this year. With antiretroviral treatment leading to a reduction in AIDS related deaths, people are living longer, and HIV is fast becoming a chronic condition.
"HIV services are still not equipped to address the needs of older people and need to be more integrated in care systems for other chronic diseases," said Rachel Albone, Health and Care Policy Advisor at HelpAge International.
"Alongside care and treatment, prevention is also key, as demonstrated by the 120,000 people aged 50 and over who become newly infected with HIV each year.
"What is needed now are clear strategies to target older people with appropriate services, supported by an enabling national policy environment, specific commitments, targets and budgets."
Last week, ahead of World AIDS Day, UNAIDS announced the latest figures demonstrating the continued progress being made in the HIV response around the world. Global efforts have resulted in close to 16 million people having access to life-saving HIV treatment – double the number in 2010.
New HIV infections have been reduced by 35% since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42% since the peak in 2004.
"These figures clearly demonstrate the success that has been achieved by Governments, UN Agencies, civil society, people living with HIV and other AIDS activists around the world," said Albone. "World AIDS day is a cause for celebration."
She added: “Bringing together the approach set out in the UNAIDS strategy and global efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages, we must ensure no one, including older women and men, is left behind in our efforts to get AIDS cases to zero."
Notes to Editors:
In 2013, in HIV and Ageing, UNAIDS estimated that 3.6 million people aged 50 and over were living with HIV globally. In the 2014 Gap Report this figure had risen to 4.2 million. And this year, in the new UNAIDS Strategy for 2016-2021, ‘On the fast track to end AIDS’, the figure has increased again to 5.5 million.
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About HelpAge International
HelpAge International helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives. Our work is strengthened through our global network of like-minded organisations - the only one of its kind in the world.