A study from the University of Alabama highlights a growing problem among senior citizens: an increase in HIV cases, and a reluctance to talk to anyone about it.
Focusing on churchgoing African-American women in the South, researchers found that 75 percent of HIV-positive women said they didn't feel comfortable telling others about their illness.
Some people are unaware of the fact that 31 percent of new HIV cases are from heterosexual contact, says Dr Pamela Foster, co-author of the study, and the women she studied didn't associate the risk factors with their own behavior.
She added that the women were at a higher risk because safe sex practices declines once they were unable to conceive.
The concern, according to a separate brief issued by the World Health Organization, is that HIV rapidly progresses to AIDS in older populations, possibly due to a weakened immune system.
Several studies indicate that the disease is increasingly prevalent among those over age 50, says the WHO, but further research could pinpoint risk factors other than engaging in unsafe sex.