FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Krishna Stone | 212.367.1016
New York, NY — This week Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) salutes a significant milestone in advocating for older adults living with HIV. For the first time, a large coalition of aging organizations included specific recommendations that would better serve older adults with HIV. This recommendation is a key priority of GMHC's federal policy agenda in 2011 and the support of broader coalitions will help the initiative finally see success.
"As Congress prepares to reauthorize the Older Americans Act this year, we urge them to consider the Leadership Council on Aging Organizations (LCAO) recommendations that prioritize the needs of older adults living with and at risk for HIV," said Nathan Schaefer, Director of Public Policy at GMHC. "As we continue to age with the HIV epidemic and expect that half of people living with HIV will be over 50 by 2017, it is critical that we consider how all programs and policies that affect older Americans can better respond to the HIV epidemic. Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act is a significant opportunity to set that precedent."
Included in the recommendations is a call for the definition of older adults with "greatest social need" to be inclusive of HIV-positive older adults. If Congress follows the LCAO recommendations, the programs funded by the OAA can better respond to the needs of older adults with HIV. This is a key step in helping senior centers, nursing homes, and other senior programs acknowledge and account for the unique HIV prevention and treatment needs of older adults.
The LCAO is a coalition of 65 national leading aging organizations. The Older Americans Act is a critical piece of legislation that funds Area Agencies on Aging across the country. Their recommendations will inform how Congress will reauthorize this vital legislation in 2011.
The specific language of the LCAO recommendations indicates that the definitions of "greatest social need" in the OAA should explicitly name older adults living with HIV-recognizing the growing number of older adults living with HIV and the related health disparities, discrimination and stigma. The recommendations also appropriately prioritize the needs of older lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans and indicates that the definitions of minority status and "greatest social need" in the OAA should explicitly name racial minority groups and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults.
To read the full LCAO recommendations, please click here.
GMHC is a not-for-profit, volunteer-supported and community-based organization committed to national leadership in the fight against AIDS. We provide prevention and care services to men, women and families that are living with, or affected by, HIV/AIDS in New York City. We advocate for scientific, evidence-based public health solutions for hundreds of thousands worldwide.