According to the DC Department of Health, HIV and AIDS are increasing among older DC residents. In fact, more than one-third of the people living with HIV in DC are age 50+. District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray says that 15 percent of new HIV and AIDS cases in the District are among older adults.
That’s one of the reasons the District of Columbia piloted a peer to peer sexual wellness program, in September, for seniors at four different locations around the city – a DCOA wellness center, a church, a senior housing facility and at a lead agency’s facility. If successful, the program could be launched, citywide. Ron Swanda, local advocate, says the District is a national leader in educating seniors about being safe while being intimate.
Ron Swanda, a 66-year-old longtime Washington, D.C. resident, has a simple message for the country: "Seniors are sexual." Swanda was quoted in a recent ABC-TV news story.
More than 80 percent of men and more than 60 percent of women over 50 report having had sex in the last year in the U.S., according to ABC News.
"I'm not saying that every grandma needs to be tested," said Swanda, an AARP DC advocacy volunteer and prominent activist for seniors. "But I want the country to do more to educate seniors about HIV and to test those at highest risk."
For more about the peer to peer sexual wellness program, contact the DC Department of Health or 202-724-5622. Information is also available from the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD & TB Administration, by visiting DC Takes on HIV or calling 202-671-4900.
Photo courtesy of Old Shoe Woman