In the ninth episode of Better Said Than Written, I had an opportunity to sit down with Holistic Health Practitioner, Kelarius Finex*, to discuss the benefits of holistic care and knowing when to seek medical treatment.
Click the blue play button to take a listen …
Kelarius, who is the founder of Eternal Elevation, shares her personal story of how she recently incorporated holistic and spiritual healing while her daughter was going through rigorous treatments for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.
However, Kelarius’ story goes a little deeper when she opens up about losing her mother to AIDS. Kelarius' mother was 59 when she died from the human immunodeficiency virus in 2014. Her mother fought to live a little while longer through spiritual healing instead of seeking medical treatment while she was living with HIV, which eventually took her life after it transformed into AIDS.
Kelarius wants people to understand there comes a time to turn to conventional medical practitioners to restore ones health, which may require you to set aside some facets of holistic and spiritual healing. When I first learned about Kelarius' story, I wondered how is it that a heterosexual 50+ year old woman can lose their life to AIDS. I was also curious why her mother kept silent about contracting HIV 12 years prior to her death. Here’s what I found:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a growing number of people aged 50 and older in the United States are living with HIV infection. People aged 55 and older accounted for over one-quarter (26%, 313,200) of the estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV infection in the United States in 2011.
Kelarius wasn’t exactly sure how her mother was infected with HIV but she later found out that her mother was diagnosed 12 years prior to her death. For some older Americans diagnoses comes much later.
The CDC reported that, late diagnoses may occur because health care providers may not always test older people for HIV infection, and older people may mistake HIV symptoms for those of normal aging and don’t consider HIV as a cause. And even though they visit their doctors on the regular, older Americans are less likely than younger Americans to discuss their sexual habits or drug use with their doctors, who in turn may be less likely to ask their older patients about these issues.
But what about why older Americans are contracting HIV? The CDC had several reasons:
- Many widowed and divorced people head back to the dating pool, and they may be less knowledgeable about HIV than younger people, and less likely to protect themselves.
- Women who no longer worry about getting pregnant may be less likely to use a condom and to practice safer sex. Age-related thinning and dryness of vaginal tissue may raise older women’s risk for HIV infection.
As for the reasons why older Americans like Kelarius' mother keep their HIV/AIDS status a secret, the CDC found the following reason:
- Stigma is a particular concern among older Americans because they may already face isolation due to illness or loss of family and friends.
- Stigma negatively affects people’s quality of life, self-image, and behaviors and may prevent them from seeking HIV care and disclosing their HIV status.
Of an estimated 47,500 new HIV infections in 2010, 5% (2,500) were among Americans aged 55 and older. Of these older Americans:
- 36% (900) of new infections were in white men, and 4% (110) were in white women;
- 24% (590) of new infections were in black men, and 15% (370) were in black women;
- 12% (310) of new infections were in Hispanic/Latino men, and 4% (100) were in Hispanic/Latina women.
- In 2010, 44% (1,100) of the estimated 2,500 new HIV infections among people aged 55 and older were among gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men (MSM). Among MSM aged 55 and older, white MSM accounted for an estimated 67% (740) of new HIV infections, Hispanic/Latino MSM 16% (180), and black MSM 15% (160).
HIV and AIDS Diagnoses and Deaths
- In 2013, there were an estimated 8,575 new HIV diagnoses among people aged 50 and over. Most (44%, 3,747) were among those aged 50-54.
- In 2013, the estimated rate (per 100,000) of HIV diagnoses for blacks aged 50-54 was 59.3, compared to 23.3 for Hispanics/Latinos, and 8.7 for whites.
- In 2013, people aged 50 and older accounted for 27% (7,108) of the estimated 26,688 AIDS diagnoses in the United States.
- Of the estimated 13,712 deaths among people with AIDS in 2012, 8,093 (59%) were among people aged 50 and older.
I can't stress enough how important that you share these facts with older Americans who you may know that may be engaging in unhealthy behavior.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the guest. (May 7, 2017)
Are you an older American who is living with HIV and and have yet tell your loved ones? Why haven’t you told them? What are you afraid of? E-mail your confidential story to TCsViews@gmail.com.
Artz of Culturez wrote a three part series on the documentary 25 to Life, which followed the story of William Brawner who built up the courage to share his HIV status on a local radio program after keeping it hidden for 25 years. After speaking with producers and supporters of the film, Artz of Culturez shared how important it is to keep the conversation of HIV and AIDS going for the young and the old.