Los Angeles Times Examines Aging Among Long-Term HIV Survivors in U.S.
The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday examined issues surrounding aging among long-term HIV survivors in the U.S. According to physicians, people living with HIV/AIDS experience signs of aging about 10 to 20 years earlier than HIV-negative people.
More than one-quarter of the one million HIV-positive people in the U.S. are older than age 50, and half are expected to be older than 50 by 2015, according to CDC. HIV-positive people older than age 50 are more likely to experience depression, memory problems, and liver and kidney diseases than are HIV-negative people of the same age, the Times reports.
In addition, older people living with HIV/AIDS are more likely to experience lipodystrophy, a condition that rearranges fat in the body and can lead to insulin resistance, as well as increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Long-term HIV survivors also can develop a bone disease called avascular necrosis, which can lead to the need for a hip replacement. The disease has been linked to medications that are taken to prevent pneumocystis pneumonia, an opportunistic infection common among people living with HIV/AIDS.
A 2006 AIDS Community Research Initiative of America study on the interaction between mental health and HIV found long-term HIV survivors are nearly 13 times more likely to experience depression than the general population. In addition, long-term survivors of the disease are more likely to commit suicide than people of the same age in the general population, the Times reports.
According to the Times, physicians have few guidelines to determine which age-related conditions are caused by HIV, which are side effects of antiretrovirals and which are signs of aging. NIH and the Veterans Health Administration are conducting two long-range studies of aging among people living with HIV/AIDS, according to the Times (Engel, Los Angeles Times, 2/5).