HIV is on the rise among older women as they remain sexually active without using protection.
There has been a five-fold increase in women aged between 45 and 56 receiving care for HIV in the past ten years, a study has found.
HIV is on the rise among older women as they remain sexually active without using protection[/caption]
Experts put the increase down to the rising divorce rate and a more liberal attitude to sex in general — yet this group is often left out of HIV prevention, education and research.
People who have come out of long marriages or been through bereavement may have had unprotected sex without considering the risks.
They are also less likely to have been screened for STDs or infections picked up through an act of infidelity.
The PRIME study (Positive Transitions Through the Menopause) is one of the largest studies of HIV and ageing in women globally.
It looked at the impact of the menopause on the health and well-being of women living with the virus.
Sometimes women had difficulty distinguishing menopausal symptoms from HIV-related symptoms.
Dr Shema Tariq, who was the lead researcher said: “HIV treatment has advanced to the point where people are living long and healthy lives with HIV.
“If you look at women in particular, over the last decade we’ve seen a five-fold increase in the number of women living with HIV in their 40s and 50s.”
HIV is treated with antiretroviral medication, which works by stopping the virus replicating in the body.
This means viral loads are reduced to undetectable levels – protecting a person’s health and preventing the infection from being passed on.
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