September 18 is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day. The importance of the annual observance increases as the number of people aged 50 and older who are living with HIV continues to grow. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that people aged 55 and older accounted for 26% of the estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV infection in the United States in 2011.
HIV-related challenges facing older Americans include lack of knowledge about HIV and stigma that discourages them from seeking HIV testing and care. In older adults, HIV is too often diagnosed late in the course of the infection, leading to shorter HIV-to-AIDS intervals.