National Resource Center on LGBT Aging Introduces Resources on Older Adults Living with HIV
New resources, launched on National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, highlight the needs of LGBT adults age 50 and over with HIV/AIDS.
“As a national organization with a long history of supporting LGBT older people living with HIV/AIDS, SAGE is committed to addressing the severe challenges that face our elders,” said Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE. “We have seen firsthand the harmful effects of social isolation, delayed care seeking, and lack of prevention messages aimed at LGBT older people. The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging now offers tools to help LGBT older people cope with the disease and ensure that their health care providers know how to meet their unique needs.”
Today, approximately 28% of people living with HIV in the U.S. are over 50. By 2017 that number is projected to grow to 50%. It is also estimated that 15% of all new HIV infections occur in people over 50. In addition, available data clearly documents that the AIDS epidemic has disproportionately affected LGBT people of all ages, including elders.
LGBT older adults living with HIV also face other risk factors that can lead to poorer health outcomes. For example, 80% of LGBT older people with HIV live alone, compared to 67% of older heterosexuals living with HIV. The effects of such social isolation include depression, poor nutrition and premature mortality. Fear of discrimination often prevents LGBT elders from seeking the health care they need until it is too late. In addition, HIV prevention and intervention messages ignore LGBT older people or assume that older people are not sexually active.
“Because the population in this country is aging rapidly, and improved treatments for HIV/AIDs have allowed people to live longer, we are seeing a growing number of older people who are HIV positive, including LGBT elders,” said Hilary Meyer, Director of the National Resource Center for LGBT Aging. “Despite this, there is very little information and research out there on the impact of aging with HIV, and little support for LGBT older adults themselves.”
The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging provides critical information on living with HIV/AIDS to LGBT older adults, and seeks to inform aging services providers and LGBT organizations of LGBT elders’ needs. New resources include:
- Articles on the challenges—and solutions—facing LGBT older people living with HIV/AIDS (OPLWHA);
- A primer for OPLWHA on antidiscrimination laws;
- Videos of LGBT OPLWHA telling their own stories;
- Webinars and presentations by experts in the field on HIV and aging issues;
- A roadmap for future research into understanding the impacts of aging with HIV/AIDS.
The HIV and aging section is the latest in a series of interactive, multimedia resources that the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging will unveil over the next several months. These online resources will span the many issues affecting LGBT older adults—from housing and ageism, to retirement and healthcare access, and much, much more.
Established in 2010, the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is the country’s first and only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. The Resource Center is a project of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) in partnership with 10 LGBT and aging organizations nationwide, including the American Society on Aging; CenterLink (the national association of LGBT community centers); FORGE Transgender Aging Network; GRIOT Circle; Hunter College; The LGBT Aging Project; the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a); the National Institute of Senior Centers (National Council on Aging); Openhouse and PHI (a national training expert).
National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day is a national campaign, launched by The AIDS Institute and recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of HIV/AIDS Policy, and www.aids.gov. The national campaign highlights the complex issues related to HIV prevention, care and treatment for aging populations in the United States.
To learn more about the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, please visit lgbtagingcenter.org.
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people. SAGE also offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. With staff in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of affiliates across the country. Learn more at sageusa.org.