advertisement
Home » News » Relationships » Sexuality » Many HIV+ Older Adults Have Unprotected Sex

Many HIV+ Older Adults Have Unprotected Sex

Distressing findings from national study examining support groups for HIV-positive older adults suggest one out of three sexually active older adults infected with HIV has unprotected sex.

Ohio University researchers surveyed 260 HIV-positive older adults and found that of those having sex, most were male, took Viagra and were in a relationship. The risky behavior calls for additional prevention efforts targeted to this specific population.

AIDs cases among the over-50 crowd reached 90,000 in 2003. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they will account for half of all HIV/AIDS cases in the United States by 2015 because medical intervention has extended the lifespan of those infected with HIV. Additionally, drugs such as Viagra have made it possible for older adults to remain sexually active longer.

Past studies have shown that up to 65 percent of older adults ages 60 to 71 have sexual intercourse. Among older adults who are HIV-positive, according to the Ohio University findings, 38 percent are sexually active.

“Those who are more likely to engage in riskier behavior – for example, those who are using drugs – are more likely to have unprotected sex,” said graduate student Travis Lovejoy, who led the study along with Ohio University health psychologist Timothy Heckman. “What we don’t know yet is whether these individuals are in a monogamous relationship with someone else who is HIV positive and believe there is no risk of infection.”

The study also found that sexual activity was more prevalent among HIV-positive older adults who were not cognitively impaired, were younger and who considered their overall health to be good.

Because many older adults with HIV are not sexually active, those who do have unprotected sex account for just 13 percent of the overall number of infected people who are aged 50 or older. However, one-third of those who are sexually active have unprotected sex, which suggests that prevention efforts may need to be more highly targeted toward these individuals.

The behavioral information was pulled from a survey of 260 HIV-positive older adults who were participating in a study examining support groups. The study was funded by a three-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Nursing Research.

Source: Ohio State University

Many HIV+ Older Adults Have Unprotected Sex

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Many HIV+ Older Adults Have Unprotected Sex. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/04/26/many-hiv-older-adults-have-unprotected-sex/782.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.