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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED STATES: Older Persons' Exclusion from Sexually
Becca R. Levy, PhD; Lu Ding, BA; Deepak Lakra, MPH; Julie
September 11, 2007
Sexually Transmitted Diseases Vol. 34; No. 8: P. 541-544

"The incidence of HIV and AIDS is growing faster among individuals 50 and older compared to those under 40," the authors wrote. The majority of clinical trials concerning disease treatment have been found to exclude older persons; the researchers undertook the current study to determine "whether this bias extends to sexually transmitted disease (STD) risk-reduction clinical trials published in a wide range of journals." To determine this, the authors conducted a systematic review of STD risk-reduction clinical trials that were published in English-language journals included in MEDLINE between Jan. 1, 1994, and Jan. 1, 2005.

The results showed that persons over age 50 were excluded from 73 percent of these trials, while those over 65 were excluded from 89 percent. In addition, the level of inclusion of older persons showed no improvement during the 10 years reviewed.

"The pattern of excluding individuals above the age of 50 from STD risk-reduction clinical trials has persisted even though AIDS is increasing most rapidly in this age group," the authors concluded. "Therefore, a need exists to increase older individuals' representation in these clinical trials."