(HealthDay News) — Notification rates of new HIV diagnoses in older adults increased in 16 European countries from 2004 to 2015, according to a study published online Sept. 26 in The Lancet HIV.

Lara Tavoschi, PhD, from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Sweden, and colleagues compared data from older (aged ≥50 years) and younger (aged 15 to 49 years) people to examine factors associated with HIV diagnosis in 31 European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries between Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2015.

The researchers found that there were 54,102 new HIV diagnoses reported in older adults. Across the 12-year period, the average notification rate of new diagnoses was 2.6 per 100,000 population, which increased significantly over time (annual average change, 2.1%). In 16 countries, notification rates for new HIV diagnoses in older adults increased significantly, clustering in central and eastern EU/EEA countries. In 2015, compared with younger individuals, older adults were more likely to originate from the reporting country, to have acquired HIV via heterosexual contact, and to present late. Over time there were significant increases in HIV diagnoses in older men, women, men who have sex with men, and injecting drug users (annual average change, 2.2%, 1.3%, 5.8%, and 7.4%, respectively).

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“There is a compelling need to deliver more targeted testing interventions for older adults and the general adult population,” the authors write.

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Tavoschi L, Dias JG, Pharris A. New HIV diagnoses among adults aged 50 years or older in 31 European countries, 2004–15: an analysis of surveillance data. Lancet. 26 September 2017. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(17)30155-8