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October 1997

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome in the Elderly

Author Affiliations

1260 15th St, Suite 1024 Santa Monica, CA 90404

Arch Dermatol. 1997;133(10):1311-1312. doi:10.1001/archderm.1997.03890460137021

Question: What do these 4 individuals have in common? (From the front cover.) Answer: All have the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) (seborrheic dermatitis [Figure 1], tubercular infection of the forehead [Figure 2], lymphoblastic lymphoma [Figure 3], and herpes simplex infection on the buttocks [Figure 4]). All are elderly and all were diagnosed and treated late because of ageism.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is pandemic, and it has been estimated that approximately 50 million to 100 million individuals will be infected worldwide by the year 2000. As of June 1996 in the United States, 548 102 AIDS cases had been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga; of those, 343 000 have died.

Until recently, the primary source of AIDS infection in the elderly was blood transfusions administered between the years 1978 and 1985, when the American blood supply was contaminated with HIV. The elderly were