HIV/AIDS infection is increasing among baby boomers
What are the reasons why HIV/AIDS infection rates are increasing among baby boomers?
What is the influence of American culture on baby boomers that is leading to an increased rate of HIV/AIDS infections among this generation?
What is the average age of the baby boomer generation and how do their HIV/AIDS infection rates compare to other generations?
According to Delgado (2014), the baby boomer generation mainly consists of people born immediately after the end of the Second World War. This period starts from 1946 to around 1964. This would mean that the baby boomer generation is now aged between 69 years and 51 years. Before the Second World War, the United States was a country that adhered to tradition strictly. This all changed after the war when the economy recovered and people could afford to live properly. This generation is generally considered to be the richest and most carefree. HIV/AIDS was discovered in the early 1970s and therefore when young, it was not an issue to this generation. However, by the time most were teenagers and young adults, HIV/AIDS had become an epidemic (Delgado, 2014).
According to Hendrick (2010), America experienced great difficulties during the wars. Before the First World War, the economy was becoming industrialized. During the Second World War, many things that Americans had taken for granted became scarce. Most of the domestic resources were re-directed towards the war effort. This was important for America to win the war as its main adversaries, Germany and Japan had prepared for a long time before the war. Due to the scarcity experienced during the war, the end of the war brought relief to the Americans. Production could be focused again on the domestic market. After the war, the United States emerged as a superpower alongside the USSR. This was very important in shaping the baby boomers. Their parents experienced both war and peace. They were in a better position financially after the war and they afforded to provide their children with a good life after the war (Hendrick, 2010).
Hendrick (2010) writes that during both the First World War and the Second World War, many Americans were exposed to many new cultures. The Second World War led to a situation where American soldiers were involved in massive numbers in overseas conflicts. After the end of the war, the returning soldiers came back home after being exposed to many foreign cultures (Hendrick, 2010). This led to a generation being born after the war that did not prescribe to traditional American traditions. This generation is generally credited with rejection and re-definition of traditional American culture. During the period of baby boomers, America underwent the civil rights movement and women rights were also addressed. According to Hendrick (2010) by the time the baby boomers were in their twenties and thirties, the United States was a country that provided opportunities for everyone. Because of this freedom and financial security, Americans could afford to depart from their traditions. During this period, homosexual relations became more widespread and acceptable in society. Because of the freedom, sexual activity increased and the traditional family model was questioned. This led to a situation where one individual could have many sexual partners and it was accepted as part of society. This is also another reason why the baby boomer generation is experiencing increased rates of HIV/AIDS infections (Nichols, 2002).
According to Sanders, Thomas & Deeds (2010) the children born in the period after the Second World War are generally considered as the baby boomers. They were born during a period where the American economy had recovered from the war. Good jobs were available in plenty and this group is generally considered as the wealthiest group in the United States. As a result, their lives were comfortable and they were able to afford the best food, holidays and their consumerism is generally termed as excessive. This also means that drug use was also at a peak during this generation. Sanders, Thomas & Deeds (2010) also points out that the American drug crisis was prevalent from the 1960s up to the 1990s and America is still considered to have a high rate of illegal drug use. During the peak of the drug use, many of the baby boomers were young and are therefore likely to have contributed to the drug use. Drug use during this period, which is also the period when HIV/AIDS was discovered, could be one of the possible reasons why HIV/AIDS infections are increasing among baby boomers (Sanders, Thomas & Deeds, 2010)
According to data collected by CDC (2015) currently, about 0.4 percent of the United States population is believed to have HIV/AIDS. This is roughly 1.2 million people. Of these, about 13% are not aware they are infected. According to center for disease control and prevention (CDC) statistics, gay, black men and men who have sex with men are at the highest risk of getting infected with HIV/AIDS. Although this group only makes about 4% of the American population, they are responsible for 78% of new HIV/AIDS infections among males and 63% of all new HIV/AIDS infections (CDC, 2015). The second category for people with the highest infection rates are drug users. They currently account for 8% of all new HIV infections (CDC, 2015). These are both characteristics of the baby boomer generation. Although the baby boomers generation is now much older, it is now that they are discovering how their earlier life affected them with a rise in HIV/AIDS infection rates among this generation.
CDC (2015) HIV in the United States: At A Glance. Retrieved 7/17/2015 from http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/basics/ataglance.html
Nichols, J. E. (2002). Aging with HIV: Psychological, social, and health issues. San Diego, Calif., USA: Academic Press.
Delgado, M. (2014). Baby boomers of color: Implications for social work policy and practice. Place of publication not identified: Columbia University Press.
Sanders, B., Thomas, Y. F., & Deeds, B. (2010). Crime, HIV and health intersections of criminal justice and public health concerns. Dordrecht: Springer
Hendrick, H. W. (2010). It all begins with self: How to become a more effective and happier you. Salt Lake City, UT: Millennial Mind Pub.