Although HIV/AIDS and the behaviors that spread it are often associated with younger adults, and younger adults still account for most new infections, 17 percent of New York City's new HIV diagnoses occur in older adults annually, a city health department report says.
However, because people with human immunodeficiency virus are living longer, the number of HIV-positive New Yorkers age 50 and older has been growing.
Women age 50 and older accounted for 22 percent of the city's female HIV diagnoses in 2008 -- up from 17 percent in 2004, the report at the Web site nyc.gov/health says.
"Older New Yorkers, like all New Yorkers, are at risk for HIV if they have unprotected sex or inject drugs," Dr. Thomas Farley, the health commissioner of New York City, said in a statement.
"Healthcare providers should counsel all patients, not just younger ones, about HIV prevention, and testing should be part of routine healthcare."
Eighty-seven percent of young adults in New York City are diagnosed when they still have HIV and before the infection has progressed to AIDS. However, older adults are often diagnosed later -- 38 percent already have AIDS at their diagnosis.