HIV, AIDS, and Older Adults
How Do People Get HIV/AIDS?
ANYONE can get HIV and AIDS. Regardless of your age, and
especially if you are 50 or older, you may be at risk for HIV if any of the
following is true:
If you are sexually active and don't use a male latex
condom. You can get HIV/AIDS from having sex with someone who is infected
with the HIV virus. The virus passes from the infected person to another
through the exchange of body fluids such as blood, semen, and vaginal fluid.
HIV can get into your body during sex through any opening, such as a tear or
cut in the lining of the vagina, vulva, penis, rectum, or mouth.
If you don't know your partner's sexual and drug
history. Has your partner been tested for HIV/AIDS? Has he or she had a
number of different sex partners? Does your partner inject drugs?
If you inject drugs and share needles or syringes with other
people. Drug users are not the only people who might share needles. People
with diabetes, for example, who inject insulin or draw blood to test glucose
levels, might share needles. If you have shared needles for any reason or if
you have had sex with someone who has, you should be tested for HIV/AIDS.
If you had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985, or a
blood transfusion or operation in a developing country at any time.
If any one of the above is true, you should be tested for
HIV/AIDS. Check your local phone directory for the number of a hospital or
health center where you can get a list of test sites. In most states the tests
can be confidential (you give your name) or anonymous (you don't give your
There are many myths about HIV/AIDS. The examples below are
- You cannot get HIV through casual contact such as shaking hands or hugging
a person with HIV/AIDS.
- You cannot get HIV from using a public telephone, drinking fountain,
restroom, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, or hot tub.
- You cannot get HIV from sharing a drink or being coughed or sneezed on by a
person with HIV/AIDS.
- You cannot get HIV from donating blood.
- You cannot get HIV from a mosquito bite.