HIV increases among people over 50

AidsAccording to the latest figures, there has been a surge in older adults getting infected with HIV. This is a cause of worry, experts said.

Under a decade the number of HIV infection among people over 50 has doubled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland reaching 710 in 2009 from 299 in 2000.

The Health Protection Agency said that in 2008 eight per cent of 7,382 new diagnosed cases were over 50s.

According to experts the figures are worrying as people are still unaware about having safe sex at whatever age possible.

Among people over 50 there has been an increase in other sexually transmitted infections also and have been rising at a faster rate than in the young.

Ruth Smith, who led the HPA research, said, "We estimate that nearly half of older adults diagnosed between 2000 and 2007 were infected at age 50 or over. This highlights the importance of HIV testing. Using a condom with all new or casual partners is the surest way to ensure people do not become infected with a serious sexually transmitted infection such as HIV."

Researchers said that the earlier HIV is diagnosed and treated, the lesser will be chances of it getting spread to others.

Dr Valerie Delpech, head of HIV surveillance at the HPA, said, "HIV remains a serious infection particularly when diagnosed late. There has been an increase in the number of older adults getting diagnosed late, highlights the need for raised awareness in that age group."