There has been some research suggesting that established statistics may be problematic. For example, El-Sadr and Gettler (1995) report that HIV infection among the elderly has not been fully investigated in the United States as a result of older groups' exclusion from targeted HIV-testing programs and the perception that they were not at significant risk.
In an effort to provide a more precise figure of prevalence rates, the authors assessed the extent of HIV infection among elderly patients by retrieving excess serum samples from patients 60 years or older without a history of HIV infection who died during a one-year period at Harlem Hospital Center in New York City. Serum samples were tested for the presence of HIV antibodies and the charts of all those found to be infected with HIV were reviewed.
Findings of the study revealed that thirteen (5.05 percent) of 257 serum samples were HIV-antibody positive. Six (6.2 percent) of 92 men and seven (8.9 percent) of 78 women between the ages of 60 and 79 years were infected with HIV. In this group there was a trend toward more women having HIV infection. The death of none of the 13 patients with HIV infection was attributable to HIV infection.
Based on findings, it was concluded that elderly patients from certain high HIV seroprevalence communities may be at significant risk of HIV infection, and that the impact of