Examining Aging Among Long-Term HIV Survivors

Armen Hareyan's picture

The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday examined issuessurrounding aging among long-term HIV survivors in the U.S. Accordingto physicians, people living with HIV/AIDS experience signs of aging about 10to 20 years earlier than HIV-negative people.

More than one-quarter of the one million HIV-positive people in the U.S. areolder than age 50, and half are expected to be older than 50 by 2015, accordingto CDC. HIV-positive people older than age 50 aremore likely to experience depression, memory problems, and liver and kidneydiseases than are HIV-negative people of the same age, the Times reports.


In addition, older people living with HIV/AIDS are more likely to experiencelipodystrophy, a condition that rearranges fat in the body and can lead toinsulin resistance, as well as increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels.Long-term HIV survivors also can develop a bone disease called avascularnecrosis, which can lead to the need for a hip replacement. The disease hasbeen linked to medications that are taken to prevent pneumocystis pneumonia, anopportunistic infection common among people living with HIV/AIDS.

A 2006 AIDS Community Research Initiative of America study on the interactionbetween mental health and HIV found long-term HIV survivors are nearly 13 timesmore likely to experience depression than the general population. In addition,long-term survivors of the disease are more likely to commit suicide thanpeople of the same age in the general population, the Times reports.

According to the Times, physicians have few guidelines todetermine which age-related conditions are caused by HIV, which are sideeffects of antiretrovirals and which are signs of aging. NIH and the Veterans Health Administration are conducting two long-range studies of agingamong people living with HIV/AIDS, according to the Times (Engel, LosAngeles Times, 2/5).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Reportis published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. KaiserFamily Foundation.