SAGE: Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders
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For Immediate Release

December 8, 2009

SAGE Commends HHS On New Policy that Allows Medicare Coverage for HIV Screening of Older People

[New York, NY] Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE) commends today¹s announcement by the The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of its decision to cover Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection screening for Medicare beneficiaries who are at increased risk for the infection, including Medicare beneficiaries of any age who voluntarily request the service.

The following statement related to the decision can be attributed to Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE:

"This decision will promote more HIV screening by vulnerable populations, including older adults and will save lives. Approximately 29% of people with HIV and AIDS are over the age of 50 and 10-15% of new diagnoses are also in people over the age of 50. Despite those figures, a 2006 CDC study found that adults 65 and older had the lowest HIV testing rates 11.4%, compared to 53.3% of adults 25-34. Testing and infection rates in older adults have been virtually ignored in the United States, as have prevention and education messages targeting older adults. As the oldest and largest LGBT aging organization in the country, SAGE is proud to be part of a New York City initiative to increase education and prevention messages in the older adult population, and we will continue to advocate at the city, state and national level to continue this work. We will continue this work by advocating that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remove its age-cap for routine testing, which currently guidelines recommending that all individuals between 13 and 64 years of age be screened for HIV regardless of recognized risk factors. We believe there is no reason to cap the age at 64, and that routine HIV screening happen throughout the course of an adult's life."

More information about Medicare's new HIV screening benefit is available in CMS' final decision memorandum. Read the final decision online.

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 located across the country, SAGE coordinates a growing network of affiliates across the country. Learn more at

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