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Healthcare professionals need to be aware of HIV risk in older adults

Awareness of HIV among healthcare professionals should be increased and targeted testing interventions introduced for older adults, say researchers.

Awareness of HIV among healthcare professionals should be increased and targeted testing interventions introduced for older adults, say researchers


Testing for HIV. Picture: Alamy

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control found in 2015 about one in six (17%) of newly diagnosed cases of HIV were people over the age of 50.

The study of 31 European countries between 2004 and 2015 showed 54,102 people over the age of 50 (2.6 people in every 100,000) were diagnosed, compared to 312,501 cases in people age 15-49 years (11.4 in every 100,000 people).

The rate of diagnosis in older people increased in 16 countries, including the UK which rose 3.6% from 3.1 new cases per 100,000 to 4.32.

Writing in the The Lancet HIV journal, lead author Lara Tavoschi called for comprehensive HIV prevention programmes, including education, access to condoms, as well as better testing and treatment.

‘We need to make healthcare workers aware of this issue to reduce stigma’ she added.


Tavoschi L et al (2017). New HIV diagnoses among adults aged 50 years or older in 31 European countries, 2004–15: an analysis of surveillance data. The Lancet HIV. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/

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