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California county
addresses needs of aging HIVers

California county
addresses needs of aging HIVers

Officials in Sacramento County, Calif., are devoting more attention to issues affecting aging HIV-positive adults, which include finding adequate housing and medical care that has both an HIV and a geriatric focus, The Sacramento Bee reports. Adrienne Rogers, Ryan White CARE Act program coordinator for the county, says more than 70% of HIV-positive people in California's Sacramento, Placer, and El Dorado counties who receive Ryan White services are over age 40 and 27% are over age 50.

"Just caring for seniors is generally more expensive, and you're adding the normal cost of seniors on top of a pretty complicated and expensive disease," Rogers told the Bee. "Our biggest concern is finding them affordable housing."

Gary Myerscough, a board member for the National Association on HIV Over Fifty, says his organization is pushing for changes to the Ryan White Act to include more money for services aimed at seniors. He says that when many AIDS organizations and services offered through Ryan White were formed, the idea that HIV patients would live long lives and someday face medical issues associated with aging wasn't even a possibility. "We have lived longer in a system that wasn't designed to take care of elderly people," he told the Bee. reported on Tuesday that a study reported in USA Today shows that HIV-positive Americans over age 50 are 13 times more likely to experience depression than the general population. Many of the 1,000 survey respondents also reported debilitating symptoms related to aging, including arthritis, high blood pressure, and vision loss. (The Advocate)

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