Older HIV-positive patients have a high prevalence of multiple age-related problems, investigators from the United States report in the online edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. The research involved patients aged 50 years and older receiving outpatient care in San Francisco. Overall, 40% reported difficulties with daily activities, most reported loneliness, many had mild cognitive impairment and 30% had only poor to fair quality of life.
“This is one of the first studies to have evaluated a wide range of geriatric assessments among HIV-infected individuals in an outpatient clinical setting and provides a comprehensive overview of the health needs faced by the aging HIV-positive population,” write the authors. “We observed a high burden of clinically-concerning deficits in older HIV-infected adults across multiple domains, including functional impairment, falls, depression and social isolation.” The investigators believe their findings have implications for patient care, commenting “our results highlight the importance of systematically providing functional, social and mental health support for the aging HIV-infected population.”
Improvements in treatment and care mean that many patients with HIV are now living well into old age. Over half of HIV-positive adults in the United States are now aged 50 years and over. Previous research has shown that these patients frequently have multiple health problems and develop conditions associated with old age earlier than the traditional cut-off for old age – 65 years.