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Chicago Winning Battle Against HIV Among Older People

Photo by Ono Kosuki from Pexels

AIDS Foundation Chicago is keeping close tabs on HIV in aging communities and they're seeing encouraging signs.

Timed to last Saturday's National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, AIDS Foundation Chicago released some encouraging new facts on HIV-positive elders in America's third-largest city.

As part of the nonprofit's Getting to Zero Illinois initiative, AIDS Foundation Chicago announced a new dataset that specifically monitors HIV among individuals 50 and older. 

"Fewer than one in five new HIV diagnoses in 2019 were among people over the age of 50," according to the dataset. "After peaking in 2012, the number of new HIV diagnoses among people over the age of 50 has gradually declined, reaching an all-time low of 93 new diagnoses in 2019."

AIDS Foundation Chicago also revealed a drop in late HIV diagnoses, "a measure that represents missed opportunities to diagnose and treat HIV" among those 50 and older. In the first half of the 2010s, late diagnoses among older Chicagoans was at 40 percent. By 2018, that number dropped to 34 percent, and then in 2019 it dropped even further to 20 percent. There is no information yet available on how the COVID pandemic of 2020 and 2021 has impacted late diagnoses among older Chicagoans. Officials have cited a goal of late HIV diagnoses among older people at 12 percent in 2023 and 5 percent by 2030.

The dataset includes various graphs and charts that chronicle statistics of transmission and treatment. Chicagoans aged 50 and older comprise approximately 46 percent of people living with HIV, with most of those individuals being men who have sex with men. The data also shows encouraging numbers for older HIV-positive individuals being retained in care and treatment. See all the information here. 

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Neal Broverman