2020 in review: HIV and aging policy

At the end of 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported nearly a half-million adults living with HIV were 50 years or older, while people 50 years and older made up nearly 50% of all people living with HIV in the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and dependent areas. Both the number of older adults living with HIV and the percentage of all people living with HIV in the U.S. are increasing. Following a recent study, the Health Resources and Services Administration projected that by 2030, 64% of people served under the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program will be 50 years or older. And, while new HIV diagnoses are declining among people aged 50 and older, around one in six HIV diagnoses in 2016 were in this group.

In 2020, thanks to the generous support of Gilead Sciences, AIDS United was able to meet all of our objectives relative to HIV and aging and increasing access to care. In 2020, we were able to educate the HIV community, the general public and federal decision-makers about the unique needs of the aging population of people living with HIV while also addressing the myriad dangers to medication access faced by people aging with HIV that are being posed by a number of other actors, including pharmacy benefits management companies, local and state governments, various insurance payers, and other agencies of the federal government.

AIDS United also sought to further the public policies related to HIV and aging that were outlined in a policy paper, HIV & Aging: Older Adults Living and Thriving with HIV, which was crafted using data collected from HIV and aging listening sessions conducted in 2019 in partnership with Public Policy Council member organizations in 12 U.S. cities, including in Puerto Rico. This paper now serves as a baseline policy and advocacy document for AIDS United. We are continuing to educate key decision-makers in federal, local and state governments, and in private corporations, about the importance of increasing access to treatment for older Americans living with HIV.