Objective: To present the most recent 2013 UNAIDS estimates of HIV prevalence among people aged 50 years and older, and to validate these estimates using data from national household surveys.
Design: Modelled estimates of HIV prevalence were validated against nationally representative household survey measures of HIV prevalence.
Methods: The UNAIDS 2013 HIV estimates were used to compute HIV prevalence and number of people living with HIV aged 50 years and older. Sex-specific HIV-prevalence rates by the 5-year age group were calculated from nationally representative household surveys conducted between 2003 and 2013, and were compared to prevalence rates from the modelled estimates. The ratios (Spectrum/Survey) of the prevalence rates from the two sources were analysed.
Results: In 2013, an estimated 4.2 million (4.0-4.5 million) people aged 50 years and older were living with HIV. The global HIV prevalence among older individuals more than doubled in almost all the 5-year age groups since 1995. There was a relatively good agreement between the modelled HIV-prevalence rates and the survey-based rates among men and women aged 50-54 years (0.90 and 1.00 median ratio, respectively), whereas for 55-59 year-olds, the differences were more notable (ratios of 0.63 for men and 0.90 for women).
Conclusion: Both data sources suggest HIV-prevalence rates among people aged over 50 have increased steadily in the recent years. Care and treatment services need to address the specific needs of older people living with HIV. Action is needed to incorporate older age groups into HIV surveillance systems.