Today I realized that just as I am getting older, so is HIV! I have been busy this past week cleaning out files- old files with old information. Being an AIDS educator requires one to constantly be aware of up-to-date treatment and statistics. I realize that I have boxes of outdated material. Most of the time I just get the latest information from the internet anyway, since there is now so much data available on the world wide web with just the click of a mouse.

So as I send old magazines to the recycle bin that talk about viatical settlements (selling life insurance for cash), at the same time I’m getting new publications in the mail that talk about aging with HIV. In fact, I read today that a third of adults living with HIV were 50 or older in 2009!

How much things have changed! I’ve been living with this virus for almost 20 years now- and the facts and figures we had back then seem like distant history compared to what we have now with trofiles and integrase inhibitors. It sure makes me thankful for all of the research and funding that has occurred since this pandemic first came about!

The world of HIV medications has been revolutionized in the past 20 years- from ground zero to a current 32 medications/combinations available in the US. And some of these have started reaching other countries- Praise God!

And the issues facing people with HIV have changed significantly! Previously it was PCP, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, CMV retinitis, or other opportunistic infections. Now it is osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease- just like everyone else who is aging!

And then I realized- I can clean out my boxes of resources, outdated statistics, old medication sheets, and so on. But there is one thing that I’d like to stop recycling: the statistics for new HIV infection rates! Did you know that the infection rate in the US has continued at the same rate (40,000 to 60,000/year) for the past 20 years? (www.cdc.gov). And globally, there were 2.7 million new infections in 2008. (www.unaids.org)

Now that is something that I would like to throw out with the trash.