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Fox NewsEdge iPump -- New statistics suggest that HIV rates among the elderly are on the rise. People older than 50 apparently make up 20 percent of new HIV infections in the U.S.
A conference room inside the Montrose Center was far from packed, but those in attendance learned about a problem that's zeroing in on an older generation.
"We don't really want to think about our parents or older adults having sex but the reality is they are having sex," said Cesar Angel, AIDS Community Research Initiative of America.
"It is prevalent both because of new infections and because people are living longer with HIV," said Hanna Tessena, AIDS Community Research Initiative of America.
New medications and treatments are allowing people to live longer, but there are other factors that have prompted the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America to hold training sessions like the one in major cities across the nation.
Tessena says the latest national statistics show people older than 50 constituted 20 percent of new HIV infections in the united states.
"Now in terms of Houston, we see that the numbers in Houston are the highest when we compare them to other cities throughout Texas," said Tessena.
61 percent of the clients receiving HIV services at the Montrose Center are in the oldest age bracket. The biggest problem is lack of awareness. The latest "at-risk" generation may be newly widowed or newly divorced.
The dating scene is different, and doctors may not be talking to older patients about safe sex.
"Within my age group, HIV was always something that was talked about. I was born in the 80s and in the beginning of the 80s was when this happened, when people started finding out about this and we knew about HIV, but when we talk about older groups, that's not the case at all. This was something that didn't exist back then," said Tessena.
"It always goes back to how we feel about older adults. We've got to understand that they are sexually active," said Angel.
Home health care providers and nursing home employees have noticed.
The combination of sex drive-enhancing medication and lack of pregnancy concerns have created a lot of new sparks in retirement environments.
"They're starting to put condoms out in the different senior centers in New York City. We're seeing that and they are often empty because people are taking the condoms which is definitely a good thing," said Tessena.