Posted: Mar 9, 2012 6:31 PM by Jacqui Heinrich
Updated: Mar 10, 2012 12:32 PM
New numbers out tonight from the Southern Colorado AIDS Project show the face of HIV/AIDS is changing. Historicaly associated with gay men and IV drug users, experts say now it is women over the age of 40 who are most affected.
Of the 34 million people suffering from AIDS worldwide, over half of them are now women. Medical professionals say this is because women who have passed menopause often go without contraception. Dr. Betsy Kleiner, a specialist in infectious diseases, tells News 5, "Women over the age of 40 often times are not concerned about practicing safe sex practices because they are not at risk for getting pregnant. And because of this, they may not be using condoms or other measures to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections".
Jane Fowler, a nationally acclaimed AIDS activist, hosted a luncheon today in Colorado Springs to educate older women about the dangers of not using contraception. In attendance were medical professionals, activists, and AIDS survivors.
In El Paso County there are about 700 people currently living with HIV/AIDS, and doctors see about 40 new cases each year- more than ever before in older women. Experts say the best way to prevent spreading the disease is to get tested at your local clinic. According to the Southern Colorado AIDS Project, over 80% of those who know they are infected change their behavior to prevent infecting someone else.