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Local organizer urges the 65 and older population take preventative actions against HIV/AIDS

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day conversation at Senior Villages in Nacogdoches
National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day conversation at Senior Villages in Nacogdoches(for all use)
Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 5:10 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - September 18th is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day. According to The AIDS Institute, ages 50 and older are the fastest-growing population with HIV.

Approximately 1.2 million Americans are living with an HIV infection according to the CDC. Director Gary Roberts wants to make the aging population aware that this disease is preventable.

“HIV is still an issue among seniors. Because again 40 percent of men and women over the age of 65-80 are still sexually active,” Roberts said.

The AIDS Institute states many seniors mistake HIV symptoms for normal aging aches and pains.

“The aging population they feel like, well I can’t get pregnant, so I don’t have to use condoms but again they put themselves at risk for an STD or a sexually transmitted disease,” Roberts said.

Gary Roberts works at the Brown Family Health Center in Nacogdoches and urges people to come in to get tested for free.

“Nationwide every nine and a half minutes somebody is newly infected with the HIV virus, the virus that causes AIDS. So we’re trying to reduce that number across the state, across our nation, across our world,” Roberts said.

Blinda O’Shaw attended one of Robert’s talks at the Nacogdoches Senior Villages. She said she was so impressed she went to get tested.

“I’ve had friends die of AIDS many years ago. That leaves an impression that never goes away. If you’re going to be sexually active at any age, protect yourself,” O’Shaw said.

Roberts said to prevent HIV, take protective measures and use condoms when participating in sexual activity.

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