More than a quarter of people in Portugal who became infected with HIV last year are over the age of 50. As many as 7% are over-65, which has prompted health chiefs into revising upwards their recommendation that AIDS testing should be offered “at least once” to everyone aged between 18-64. From now on, António Diniz – the man in charge of the national programme – says there should be no age limit.
“These figures show that the current limit makes no sense,” he explained.
But, other than this aspect of AIDS data, other indications are “heartening”, he added. New cases of infection have dropped 17.3% in relation to 2013, and cases of people showing advanced phases of AIDS have dropped 11.6%.
In 2013, around 65% of people arrived at hospitals and health centres in “a very advanced stage” of the virus, he explained, but this figure has managed to drop to just over 49%, which “practically puts Portugal at the European average registered by the World Health Organisation”, he said.
As to the “profile” of those infected, homosexual men are still high on the list (31.8%), while cases among intravenous drug-users are falling (3.9%) – but most affected continue to be heterosexual couples (60.5%) “namely those who are over 50”, writes Público.