The HIV epidemic among older men who have sex with men.

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The authors present HIV prevalence and risk behavior data for urban men who have sex with men (MSM) aged 50 years or older. Data are based on a probability sample of MSM conducted in 1997 (n = 2881 total; 507 older MSM) in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco. The authors determined HIV status through self-report and biologic measures. Risk behavior was assessed through self-report. The authors found that HIV prevalence was 19% (95% CI: 14, 25) for men in their 50s and 3% (95% CI: 1, 10) for men in their 60s. No men in their 70s were HIV-positive. Prevalence was at high levels for older blacks (30%), MSM who are injection drug users (21%), moderately heavy drug users (35%), and less closeted men (21%). High-risk sex between serodiscordant partners was relatively constant (4%-5%) across age groups older than 30 years of age and decreased among MSM in their 70s. Current levels of HIV among older urban MSM in the United States are very high, particularly among those in their 50s. High mortality rates among MSM with AIDS up to 1996 (before highly active antiretroviral therapy [HAART]) would account for the lower levels among men in their 60s and 70s. Because of HAART, we would expect HIV levels to increase in these age groups. Given high levels of risk behavior among MSM through the sixth decade of life, the authors would expect an older MSM epidemic of substantially larger proportion than that observed in the 1980s and 1990s.

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