New York State Department of Health Recognizes National Hiv/Aids and Aging Awareness Day

The AIDS Institute Continues to Prioritize Services to Promote the Health and Well-being of Adults 50+ Living with HIV

Department Launches People Aging with HIV Pilot Program Across State to Provide Comprehensive Health Related Supportive Services

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 18, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health and the Department's AIDS Institute proudly join the nation today in honoring National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, highlighting specific programming for People Aging with HIV, which helps to improve the health and well-being of New Yorkers over 50 years of age living with HIV.

"Advances in health care treatment have changed the trajectory of HIV from a deadly disease for many to a manageable chronic illness for most," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "There is still work to be done as we face new infections among older adults and challenges for those over age 50 living with HIV, but today, we pause to celebrate the courage and perseverance of all those who are aging with HIV/AIDS."

In New York, one out of five individuals newly diagnosed with HIV in 2021 were over the age of 50. Of those, a large percentage had advanced disease, meaning they were likely HIV+ for years and unaware of their status. Late diagnosis continues to disproportionately impact people of color as 47 percent are black/African American, and 27 percent are Hispanic/Latino.

"It is imperative that all older adults are aware of their risk, get tested, and practice relevant sexual and drug user health," Dr. McDonald said.

Of the 103,900 New Yorkers living with diagnosed HIV in 2021, 57 percent were age 50 or older. Through the work of the Department's AIDS Institute and its partners, the Department continues to identify health challenges faced by this population and break down barriers accessing care.

Consistent with the Master Plan for Aging, work currently being done in New York State for the broader aging community includes combating all forms of stigma and ageism, addressing health disparities in the underserved black and brown communities, considering the impact of social isolation and loneliness, sustaining and building caregiver networks, creating collaborations and seamless transitional care across multidisciplinary models, and emphasizing "aging in place" are being prioritized for this special population of aging New Yorkers.

Underpinning this work, the Department's AIDS Institute has launched the People Aging with HIV pilot supporting ten entities across New York State which provide comprehensive health related supportive services, promoting the overall health and well-being of people over age 50 who are living with diagnosed HIV. The intent of the funding is to develop creative and collaborative approaches to meet the unique needs of this population with a goal of reducing health disparities facing New York State's aging HIV/AIDS population. Screening mechanisms and support services are being employed to address challenges related to comorbid conditions, cognitive, behavioral, and social issues, while identifying unique social factors impacting health and wellness needs (i.e., poverty, racism, stigma, and lack of education).

This year, the U.S. Surgeon General red flagged the devastating impact of the epidemic of loneliness and isolation in the United States, especially in a post COVID-19 pandemic society. This initiative renews an emphasis on psychosocial support groups and digital technology instruction to aid older individuals with HIV feel connected to others and equipped to interact in the evolving virtual and digital landscape.

Through the pilot and across all its departments, the AIDS institute will continue to address behavioral and social interventions of those who are aware of their HIV status while raising awareness about the importance of education, prevention and testing among the general older adult population who may be at risk of developing HIV or living with undiagnosed HIV. In addition, the AIDS Institute continues to serve as the Capacity Builder for the National SPNS Project, Emerging Strategies to Improve Health Outcomes for People Aging with HIV, bringing its expertise to the national stage.

Additional information and resources for New Yorkers living and aging with HIV/AIDS can be found at and in the following documents:

Eligible New Yorkers can also get HIV self-testing kits mailed to them at no cost by texting the word "WISDOM" to 40457. Tests are also available at low or no cost in many healthcare settings across the state. Find a nearby site by visiting the CDC's Test Site Locator.

For more information on the AIDS Institute, visit the website here.