Florida Public Health Review


Publication Date

April 2009


Americans continue to face risks associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). One population that receives little attention concerning HIV is that of older adults. Approximately 20% of all HIV cases are among adults aged 50 and older. Older adults and younger populations are at risk for HIV; however, few programs are in place to reduce the incidence of HIV among this priority population. Many cases of HIV among older adults go unnoticed because health care professionals perceive older adults as asexual. Many physicians and other health professionals, including health educators, are uncomfortable in discussing sexual histories with older adults, so they fail to screen this population for HIV thoroughly. One way to decrease the incidence of HIV among older adults is to employ effective leadership theories within the health care system. The leadership theories of Kouzes and Posner may have value for health care professionals by improving patient-provider communication. This visionary framework can aid in reframing the problem, and in turn, achieve realistic HIV outcomes among older adults.