St. Joseph’s University, USA
Ilene Warner-Maron completed her PhD in health policy in 2007 at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, where her dissertation focused on HIV and aging. She holds masters degrees in gerontology from the University of Pennsylvania (1985), health care administration from St. Joseph’s University (1989) and law and social policy from Bryn Mawr College (1995); a bachelors in sociology from Philadelphia University (1983) and a diploma in nursing from the Albert Einstein Medical Center School of Nursing in 1980. She is the director of Interdisciplinary Health Services at St. Joseph’s University and serves on community boards specializing in geriatrics
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 50 percent of all persons living with HIV/AIDS in 2015 will be over 50 years of age. Many of those have been living with the disease for decades, however an increasing number of new cases has arisen in those 65+ as a consequence of heterosexual transmission. Older adults have an increased risk of transmission due to biological changes, particularly in post-menopausal women. Additional factors contributing to the transmission of HIV in older adults includes psychosocial issues, particularly the misperception of their degree of risk for contracting any sexually transmitted diseases, the impact of erectile dysfunction medications, the inability of older adult men to use condoms and the unfamiliarity and access issues regarding female condoms. This paper will explore these barriers and discuss the role of the clinician in disseminating information about HIV/AIDS risk, particularly to older women who are most vulnerable to transmission as a consequence of post-menopausal changes, demographics and issues involving sexual negotiation. We will explore the barriers to discussing sexually transmitted diseases by physicians, nurse practitioners and physicians as well as the barriers for older adults to raise these questions to their health providers. The paper will explore the resources available in communities for both older adults and their health care providers in sharing this information in an attempt to stem the transmission of HIV among older adults.