HIV and the older adult


M.A. Bachus

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Infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is now considered a chronic disease of years rather than an acute condition resulting in death. AIDS in older adults accounts for 11% of all AIDS cases. This article discusses current epidemiological trends and statistics; HIV risk factors related to aging; immunity and the aging process; diagnosis and treatment challenges; as well as gerontological nursing implications related to HIV prevention and counseling for adults age 50 and older. HIV infection is preventable. Nurses have a unique opportunity to develop theory-based intervention programs to reduce risk behaviors, while encouraging healthy behaviors in the older adult population.