An emerging trend of rising infection rates among older generations in some countries in Africa point to an important gap in prevention efforts with this age group.
In Botswana, for example, the HelpAge Internationl says, infection level among those over 50 years was found to be 21 percent.
In Uganda, approximately 7 percent of men aged 50–59 years were infected, as were about 5 percent of women of the same age.
This data is from a UNAIDS Dec 05 Epidemiological Update report.
HelpAge says that these figures point to the need to consider older people in strategies to fight the pandemic.
In the past, they have been excluded in programmes as they were thought to be past their sex lives and therefore at no risk of infection.
The negative attitudes towards older people as a group past their useful years also saw them marginalised as efforts were concentrated at the 0 - 49 years age groups.
In addition, the NGO dealing with issues of the elderly in Africa says older people have in the past been thought to be safe from infection by HIV/AIDS.
However, HelpAge International says the elderly are still sexually active thus exposing themselves to risk. In addition, in the course of providing care for those living with AIDS, they come into contact with body fluids as sometimes they lack protective gear such as gloves.
The organisation calls for HIV/AIDS prevention programme efforts that address people of all ages.
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