HIV and aging

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Drugs and AIDS

HIV and aging

Old man and young boy face closeup comparison

Worldwide, more than 4 million people with 50 years or older are living with HIV, a UN report shows. The greater number of older people with HIV are living in African countries - 2,5 million people.

Older people therefore become an increasing proportion of total 35 million people living with HIV. The main reason for the growth is the success of HIV treatment to keep people alive and healthy people. Another reason is that an increasing number of people acquiring HIV when they are over 50 showing that HIV prevention programs can not ignore this age group.

The survey also indicates that medical and social services will need to adapt to meet the often complex needs of older people living with HIV. This is especially important because living with HIV has been associated with an increased risk of diseases associated with advanced age.

More evidence of these were published recently, researchers from the Netherlands. They compared the health outcomes of about 500 people living with HIV over the age 45, and 500 of people who do not have HIV. Those in the HIV-negative group were 'matched' with those living with HIV, meaning that they were the same age (mean 52 years), sex (mostly men), sexuality (most were gay) and nationality (the majority were Dutch).

Many people living with HIV had been diagnosed ten years ago or more. Almost all were doing HIV treatment and had an undetectable viral load.

People living with HIV were more likely to have a disease associated with aging:


  • 45% had high blood pressure, compared to 31% of those without HIV.
  • 4% had had a heart attack compared to 2%.
  • 3% had peripheral arterial disease (buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries that restrict blood supply to the leg muscles) compared with 1% of people without HIV.
  • 4% had renal problems compared with 2%.

This seems to be partly because of having HIV and damaging the immune system. People who had already had a cell count below CD4 200 for a period were not more likely to have these diseases. Scientists believe this may accelerate the aging process.

But also appears to be due to differences in lifestyle. Those living with HIV were more likely to smoke, less likely to be physically active or get any exercise, and more likely to have excess fat around your stomach (a high waist-hip ratio).

When family members of a person already had heart disease or diabetes, it also increases the risk of these problems occur. Changes in lifestyle can be especially important when there is a family history of heart disease.

el guapoThe Soropositivo.Org Editor's Note: HIV is also a factor in premature aging. I almost have not (...) have health problems, cracking, premature aging.

This makes me even more prone to sedentary life, is a fact.

But I'm not smoking because of HIV and, yes, I am smoker since the age of twelve., When I left home.

TRANSLATION : Karin Gobitta-Földes

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