December 8, 2009, New York, NY...Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE) commends today's announcement by the The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of its decision to cover Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection screening for Medicare beneficiaries who are at increased risk for the infection, including Medicare beneficiaries of any age who voluntarily request the service.
The following statement related to the decision can be attributed to Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE:
"This decision will promote more HIV screening by vulnerable populations, including older adults and will save lives. Approximately 29% of people with HIV and AIDS are over the age of 50 and 10-15% of new diagnoses are also in people over the age of 50. Despite those figures, a 2006 CDC study found that adults 65 and older had the lowest HIV testing rates 11.4%, compared to 53.3% of adults 25-34. Testing and infection rates in older adults have been virtually ignored in the United States, as have prevention and education messages targeting older adults. As the oldest and largest LGBT aging organization in the country, SAGE is proud to be part of a New York City initiative to increase education and prevention messages in the older adult population, and we will continue to advocate at the city, state and national level to continue this work. We will continue this work by advocating that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remove its age-cap for routine testing, which currently guidelines recommending that all individuals between 13 and 64 years of age be screened for HIV regardless of recognized risk factors. We believe there is no reason to cap the age at 64, and that routine HIV screening happen throughout the course of an adult's life."
More information about Medicare's new HIV screening benefit is available in CMS' final decision memorandum. Read the final decision online at:
ABOUT SAGE - SAGE is the world's oldest and largest non-profit agency dedicated to serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors. Since its inception, SAGE has pioneered programs and services for seniors in the LGBT community, provided technical assistance and training to expand opportunities for LGBT older people across the country, and provided a national voice on LGBT aging issues. In 2005 SAGE became the first official LGBT delegate at a White House Conference on Aging, and is now the first organization to represent LGBT issues on the Leadership Council on Aging. SAGE celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2008 and is continuing to advocate for LGBT elders. For more information, please www.sageusa.com.ã€€