Monday, December 31, 2012


Dear Global Action on Aging Readers,  As the New Year arrives, resolve to have Safe Sex!  If you live in the US, here are some useful resources.  If you live elsewhere, check your government's HIV/AIDS prevention programs.  Cheers and have a very Happy New Year from all of us at Global Action on Aging.

Treatment and Prevention  There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. But if you become infected, some drugs can help keep the HIV virus in check and slow the spread of HIV in the body. Doctors are now using a combination of drugs called HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) to treat HIV/AIDS. Although it is not a cure, HAART is greatly reducing the number of deaths from AIDS in this country.   You can action to prevent getting HIV/AIDS. Practice the steps below to lower your risk:
  • If you are having sex, make sure your partner has been tested and is free of HIV.
  • Ask him or her!   Use male or female condoms (latex or polyurethane) during sexual intercourse.
  • Do not share needles or any other equipment used to inject drugs.
  • Get tested if you or your partner had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985.
  • Get tested if you or your partner has had an operation or blood transfusion in a developing country at any time.

For More Information from Helpful Resources
P.O. Box 6303
Rockville, MD 20849-6303
800-448-0440 (toll-free)
Monday to Friday, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time
888-480-3739 (TTY/TDD/toll-free))
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333
800-232-4636 (toll-free/24 hours a day,
7 days a week/English and Spanish)
888-232-6348 (TTY/toll-free)
CDC National Prevention Information Network
P.O. Box 6003
Rockville, Maryland 20849-6003
800-458-5231 (toll-free)
800-243-7012 (TTY/toll-free)
National Association on HIV Over Fifty
23 Miner Street
Boston, MA 02215-3319
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
6610 Rockledge Drive, MSC 6612
Bethesda, MD 20892-6612
866-284-4107 (toll-free)
800-877-8339 (TDD/toll-free)
Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian,
Bisexual & Transgender Elders
305 7th Avenue
6th Floor
New York, NY 10001
For more information on health and aging, contact:
National Institute on Aging
Information Center
P.O. Box 8057
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057
800-222-2225 (toll-free)
800-222-4225 (TTY/toll-free),
To sign up for regular email alerts about new publications and other information from the NIA, go to
Visit NIHSeniorHealth (, a senior-friendly website from the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine. This website has health information for older adults. Special features make it simple to use. For example, you can click on a button to have the text read out loud or to make the type larger.
National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services March 2009   Page Last Updated: April 24, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Defend US Social Security; Keep it Strong!

Dear GAA Reader,

Across the globe, governments everywhere are abandoning older persons and cutting old age benefits that assured a "decent old age."  Here in the US, the Richest 1% want to reduce or destroy our US Social Security.  You and I must work together to defend our Right to our Social Security.  Here are some basic facts about US Social Security that you can use in arguments, in speeches, in conversations with your children and friends as well as open-minded opponents: 

US Social Security is the bedrock of a "good old age."

In 2012, over 56 million Americans will have received $778 billion in Social Security benefits.  Some 36 million retired workers received a monthly average benefit of $1,234.  (Not a lot of money to support housing, food, transport and costs in old age.  But it helped.)

Disabled workers received an average of a $1,111 monthly benefit.

Surviving dependants of disceased workers received a monthly average beneift of $1,190. 

Why is Social Security so important?   Because the majority of employers fail to offer pension coverage to their workers;  some 51% of the work force has no private pension coverage.  And 34% of the work force has no savings set aside specifically for retirement; wages are so low that saving is made very difficult.

In 1940, the life expectancy of a 65 year-old was almost 14 years; today it's almost 20 years.  So Social Security has to stretch out over longer lives.

By 2033, there will be almost twice as many older Americans as today --  from 43.4 million today  to 75.7 million.

There are currently 2.8 workers for each Social Security beneficiary.  By 2033, there will be 2.1 workers for each beneificiary. 

Use these statistics to defend and strengthen US Social Security.  Many of the richest 1% in the US
want to wreck Social Security for the rest of us.  Don't let them do it.

Contact your Member of Congress, make an appointment, bring along your friends and family and tell them, "Hands off our Social Security." 

In solidarity, Susanne Paul for Global Action on Aging

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Are You Too Old to get HIV-AIDS?

Dear GAA Reader,

Think you are too old to get HIV-AIDs?  Think again! 

The AOA (US Administration on Aging) has found that about 1.2 million people in the US now live with HIV.  One in five of these persons are unaware that they have the infection.  Why?  Because they've never been tested.  A test is the only sure way to know if you have HIV.

According to recent Center for Disease Control  reports, people over age 50 account for 17 percent of new HIV Cases in 40 states with "long-term confidential name-based reporting."  Also, those over 50 years account for 31 percent of persons living with an HIV diagnosis.

Do you think that most older people are not sexually active?   Think again:  Five years ago a national study of US persons found that persons between 57 and 85 years old are -- in fact -- sexually active.  Most of them are healthy older people. 

Older people living in the US are increasingly widowed or divorced.  They become involved in intimate relationships but are often ignorant of the health risks.  Many fail to use any protection. Only one third of older men have discussed sex issues with their doctor; only one in five women over 50 years has talked with her doctor about sex issues. Too many are clueless about HIV prevention or how to get tested. 

So, how do you get a test?  Visit this website for specific information:
Or call: 1 800 232 4636. (Information is available in Spanish or English.) 

If you have questions or would like to share your experience or related information, please reply on our blog site. 

 Have a good day, Global Action on Aging

Monday, December 24, 2012

Take Action to Save US Social Security

Dear GAA Friend,

Two days ago the MoveOn organization wrote to me--and probably hundreds of others--urging us to stop Congress from cutting Social Security benefits for me and millions of others.  The writer, Frank Burton, said, "I elected the President, and other Democrats, to protect Social Security and to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes--not to cave in to Republican demands to cut the benefits that my family, and millions of other families, depend on."

Frank points out that last week President Obama offered to cut Social Security benefits.  And he said  that Democrats in Congress--whose support is needed to get a deal--are split on whether they'd allow Social Security cuts. 

What can ordinary people do to save this vital program that affects us all, particularly those of us who are old?   We must take action!  I will be marching into my Congressional Representative Charley Rangel's office with as many of my neighbors, friends and their children that we can assemble. 

What is our message?   Don't cut Social Security benefits!   I don't intend to sit back and let my children and neighbors' Social Security be robbed from us in full daylight.

If you live in the US, follow Frank Burton, Global Action on Aging, other Move On subscribers, and US citizens to stop this robbery of our Social Security. 

If you live in the New York area or can come to demonstrate, here is the address:  163 West 125th Street, New York, NY  10027-4404.  See you there!

Thanks and have a good holiday,   Susanne Paul for Global Action on Aging

PO Box 20022, New York, NY  10025

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dear GAA Reader,

Exciting news for all of us who are or will be old:  The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on December 20, 2012, to begin the process toward defining the human rights of older persons--a process that will likely lead to adoption of a Convention or Treaty that requires UN Member States to insure  protection against abuse and discrimination for all older citizens.  In preparation for the vote, NGOs, such as Global Action on Aging  and many of our colleagues, called UN Missions and spoke with Third Committee delegates, asking for their support.  I discussed these issues with representatives from Arabic-speaking countries.  All treated me courteously and spelled out their worries about moving too quickly toward such a resolultion without ample time to study it carefully.  

Earlier this fall, El Salvador had introduced a resolution; it was revised several times to meet the objections voiced from other countries.  Interestingly, the United States and the European Union opposed the El Salvador resolution and lobbied the Member States to oppose the measure.   Nevertheless, it passed although a number of nations abstained.  Now NGOs are turning our efforts to engaging aging organizations in every part of the world to contact their government representatives and urge them to support such a measure.  Will you please be in touch with your National Aging Authority to ask for its support to assure the human rights of older person?  And what will happen next?   The UN will likely host another Open-Ended Working Group in summer 2013 to define the issues more clearly.  If you want more information or want to become involved in this process, please write to me at this Blog.  Or, write to

As our planet moves toward its shortest day in the north and the longest in south, Global Action on Aging wishes you a productive year in 2013, rich with blessings and opportunities to make the world more welcoming of older people wherever they may be.

Happy holidays to you and your loved ones,  Susanne Paul for Global Action on Aging

PS  If you wish to support the work and activity of GAA, please send a check or money order to
GAA, PO Box 20022, New York, NY 10025  USA    Thanks!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Can the HIV Virus Cure Leukemia?

Apparently so, seven year old Emily was expected to die from an aggressive pediatric form of Leukemia last spring, but thanks to a new experimental treatment she has survived.

Emily underwent a new clinical trial that uses a disabled form of HIV to bring cancer-fighting genes to her T-cells. The idea behind this study is to reprogram the immune system to attack the cancer cells. The T-cells in question are first removed from the patient's body. They are then genetically altered and bioengineered with the disabled HIV virus. Therefor the patient is never injected with the actual HIV virus. Why? The cells are treated outside he body with the virus and then reinjected into the areas where leukemia is growing.

Seven months after the treatment, Emily's doctor found that she had no evidence of leukemia cells. He pronounced her healthy and in remission. This innovative experimental therapy saved her life. Emily became the first child to undergo the treatments called CTL019.

Before this recent procedure Emily had relapsed two times. Her family was about to give up hope since she did not seem to respond to any of the traditional treatments.

Trial leader and Pediatric Oncologist Stephan A. Grupp M.D, PH.D of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is one of the researchers behind this new medical discovery.

Sanna Klemetti