Safe sex for older people is a major concern of A Little Red Hen http://alittleredhen.typepad.com/a_little_red_hen/ who has been reminding people with her condom amulets.
Fortunately, there has been recent news coverage about the need for HIV and STD testing, and practicing safe sex, by those over 50.
Experts and older patients are teaching a belated lesson to battle a risky HIV generation gap that has left many unprotected and infected.
By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 26, 2007
…although the number of HIV and AIDS patients in the over-50 crowd nationwide had grown in recent years, some of the increase was attributed to people who are living longer with the virus or disease, thanks to improvements in therapy treatments.
But without widespread testing, “we don’t really know what the true prevalence [of STD infection] is in this group,” Lieb said. “There’s reason to think, at least anecdotally, this is a combustible situation that is being overlooked.”
That’s why some social service and public health officials have turned to HIV-positive patients like Fowler to speak out and try to get their peers’ attention…. Fowler recently met up with a graying group to commiserate about sexually transmitted diseases, and recounted her cautionary tale. How a divorce in her 50s led her back into the dating pool, and how she enjoyed a New Year’s Eve fling with a former co-worker. Fowler said she never considered using condoms, given that she had already gone through menopause.
“I had lived what I considered a conventional, traditional life. I had been a virgin on my wedding night in 1959,” said Fowler, a founder of the National Assn. on HIV Over Fifty, who now coordinates the speakers bureau at a local AIDS organization. She has spoken before hundreds of groups over the years, including medical researchers and HIV/AIDS advocates to senior centers.
“I remained monogamous for 23 years of marriage. . . . After the divorce, I didn’t consider myself promiscuous. I didn’t frequent the singles bars. I went out with men my age who, like me, had been married and were divorced.”
Her own physician, she said, dismissed her questions about getting tested for HIV as unnecessary for someone her age. Her early symptoms were dismissed as routine ailments of aging.
Read the rest at
The National Association on HIV Over Fifty (NAHOF) was founded at the National Conference on AIDS and Aging in October of 1995 in New York City. Our mission is to promote the availability of a full range of educational, prevention, service and health care programs for persons over age fifty affected by HIV.
People over age fifty are affected by HIV in numerous ways. People in their mid or later years may be infected with HIV, the virus associated with AIDS. Ten percent of all AIDS cases are persons age fifty and up, a quarter of these are over age 60. Older women appear to have higher incidence rates than older men, and persons of color are especially at risk.
AIDS and HIV affect families, both traditional and families of choice. Increasingly older adults care for relatives and friends infected with HIV. Many adults with HIV turn to older parents for help and care. Increasingly grandparents are substitute parents for their grandchildren whose own parents are unable to care for their children due to HIV-related needs. Many of these are “AIDS orphans” and grandparents have stepped in to be full or part time caregivers for the children; middle-age and older adults with adult children may need emotional support….
Older people with HIV/AIDS face a double stigma: ageism and infection with a sexually-or-IV-drug transmitted disease.
Safe sex is needed especially in what seems to be a new tourism–
By Jeremy Clarke, Sun Nov 25, 2007
Older white women join Kenya’s sex tourists
MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) – Bethan, 56, lives in southern England on the same street as best friend Allie, 64….
Hard figures are difficult to come by, but local people on the coast estimate that as many as one in five single women visiting from rich countries are in search of sex.
Allie and Bethan — who both declined to give their full names — said they planned to spend a whole month touring Kenya’s palm-fringed beaches. They would do well to avoid the country’s tourism officials.
“It’s not evil,” said Jake Grieves-Cook, chairman of the Kenya Tourist Board, when asked about the practice of older rich women traveling for sex with young Kenyan men.
“But it’s certainly something we frown upon.”
Also, the health risks are stark in a country with an AIDS prevalence of 6.9 percent. Although condom use can only be guessed at, Julia Davidson, an academic at Nottingham
University who writes on sex tourism, said that in the course of her research she had met women who shunned condoms — finding them too “businesslike” for their exotic fantasies.