Meeting the health needs of the Stonewall & AIDS generations

HIV agelessFrom

The United Sates population is aging. Because of increases in life expectancy attributable to the advances in public health and medical treatments, Baby Boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — will constitute approximately one-third of the U.S. population by 2014. Within this group are two growing segments of gay men: The Stonewall Generation (who emerged into adulthood as the gay rights movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s was flourishing) and men like myself — men of the AIDS Generation (who came of age in the late 1970s and early 1980s). Based on population estimates, some 1.2 to 1.4 million gay men in the United States will soon be age 50 and over — and in New York City, approximately five percent of gay men are in this age range. Those who work in the field of gerontology, either in research or in practice and service provision, find themselves at an interesting point. Traditional understandings, approaches and services that were developed for aging generations that preceded us may no longer be relevant. We are all grappling to understand this new group of older adults and their needs moving forward. The fact is, we know very little about the behaviors and expectations of aging Baby Boomers, and even less about those within this cohort who are gay men of the Stonewall and AIDS Generations — and only infinitesimal amounts about those gay Boomers who are aging with HIV.

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