Is PA Ignoring AIDS Crisis Among Seniors?
More than one million Americans are living with HIV or AIDS. But among seniors who are 50 years and older, the number is mounting. In fact, Philadelphia has the fifth highest number of cases in this age group in the country. And according to a study by Yale School of Medicine, by 2017, it’s estimated that more than half of all people living with HIV and AIDS will be 50 years of age.
But the LGBT Elder Initiative has criticized Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging over a recent plan, saying it fails to address the disease, especially considering that PA has the 10th highest number of new cases in the country each year. And seniors 50 years and older account for 17 percent of cases in the state – and that number’s also growing.
But the newly proposed plan, which establishes the course of action the state will take starting this year through 2016, outlines issues ranging from healthcare coverage to ongoing care. But as the fourth oldest state in the nation (with more than 21 percent of the population – 2.7 million people – over the age of 60) it does not consider the aging LGBT population at all.
This month, the PA Department of Aging is holding three public hearings about the plan (please call in advance to schedule a time – 717-425-5719):
June 18 (Penn State University)
June 25 (University of Penn)
June 28 (University of Pittsburgh)
The Elder Initiative is also asking LGBT seniors to attend the hearings and to email the department by June 29, asking that the state specifically reconsider its plan for addressing HIV and AIDS among seniors in Pennsylvania: RA-StatePlanOnAging@state.pa.us