BY William McGuinness
August 26 2009 12:00 AM ET
Men and women older than 50 are at higher risk for HIV infection and have faster progression from HIV to AIDS once infected, according to a study by the World Health Organization.
One reason for the higher infection risk is that seniors may participate in unprotected sex at higher rates than younger people. Another may be that erectile dysfunction medications, like Viagra, make it possible for older men to engage in sex more often or reestablish patterns of unprotected sex that waned as they had aged.
But researchers are unclear precisely why infection risks are higher and disease progression faster in this demographic group because of a dearth of research that includes older HIVers.
'Understanding the epidemiology of HIV infection in older individuals can lead to interventions to make these years safer and more enjoyable,' the researchers concluded.