New Funders Concerned About AIDS Data Shows Gap in Philanthropic Funding as Number of People Living with HIV Age

By 2020, 70% of people living with AIDS in the US will be 50 or older

Washington, D.C., September 18, 2017 – On the first day of its annual AIDS Philanthropy Summit, Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA), the leading voice on philanthropic resources allocated to the global AIDS epidemic, shared the first-ever analysis of HIV philanthropy for older adults (those 50 years and older). The data highlights an alarming gap in resources: in 2015, 50 percent of people living with HIV in the US fell into this demographic, yet less than 2 percent of the country’s HIV-focused philanthropy addressed the needs of this particularly vulnerable population.

“Today, on National HIV/AIDS Aging Awareness Day, it’s worth remembering that thirty years ago, a diagnosis of HIV was a death sentence,” said John Barnes, FCAA’s Executive Director. “Due to enormous advances in treatment, people are able to live far longer; so much so that by the year 2020, 70 percent of those living with HIV in the US will be over the age of 50. This is good news, but it brings with it unique complexities. Philanthropic funding is a critical source of support and is essential that it keep pace in order to ensure we adequately address the needs of older HIV-positive adults.”

Treatment is only one component to addressing HIV and AIDS among older Americans. This is the first time in this decades’ old fight in which we are seeing a population age with HIV. It’s a quickly growing demographic and one that requires an appropriate level of funding to support it. Philanthropic funding has historically provided critical and catalytic resources for the fight. However, at the moment, it is not keeping pace with this emerging need nor is it focused enough in key areas of concern. For example, among older adults, African Americans were 12 times – and Latinx five times – more likely than whites to have HIV. Yet, these vulnerable populations were not made a funding priority.

A contributing factor to this challenge is that older adults don’t see themselves as an at-risk population, nor do their healthcare providers. As a result, by the time they are tested for HIV, older adults often receive a dual diagnosis due to the fact that they are living with more than two chronic conditions as they age. In addition, according to an ACRIA study, even those who may be aware of their diagnosis, or those who have been living with it for many years, face common comorbidities such as depression, arthritis, hepatitis, neuropathy and hypertension.

Other key findings from FCAA’s report include:

  • Nearly $5 million in HIV-related philanthropy addressed the needs of older adults living with HIV/AIDS. Though impressive, that is only 2% of total U.S. HIV-related philanthropy
  • According to the CDC, older adults account for 17% of new HIV infections, yet only 7% of HIV philanthropy addressed prevention for this population
  • Economically disadvantaged/homeless and transgender people received the largest percentage of philanthropic funding (10% each)
  • Philanthropic funding was used to provide social services (30%), treatment (26%) and research (15%)

“Supporting an aging HIV positive population is, in many ways, uncharted territory,” said Barnes. “Conquering new frontiers requires resources. The philanthropic sector has a long history of helping to bridge such gaps in the past; we are calling upon the sector to do so now and help us adequately support older individuals living with HIV and AIDS.”

You can read the complete findings of the study here.