HIV infection is independently associated with frailty in middle-aged HIV type 1-infected individuals compared with similar but uninfected controls

AIDS. 2016 Jan;30(2):241-50. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000910.


Background: Frailty is an age-related syndrome of decreased physiological reserve and resistance to stressors, associated with increased morbidity and mortality in the general elderly population. An increased prevalence of frailty has been reported amongst HIV-infected individuals.

Methods: Fried frailty phenotype was systematically assessed in predominantly virologically suppressed HIV type 1 (HIV-1)-infected and otherwise comparable HIV-uninfected participants aged at least 45 at enrollment into the AGEhIV Cohort Study. Multivariable ordinal logistic regression was used to investigate associations between HIV- and antiretroviral therapy-related covariates, markers of inflammation and body composition and prefrailty/frailty.

Results: Data were available for 521 HIV-infected and 513 HIV-uninfected individuals. Prevalence of frailty (10.6 versus 2.7%) and prefrailty (50.7 versus 36.3%) were significantly higher in HIV-infected individuals (Ptrend < 0.001). HIV infection remained statistically significantly associated with prefrailty/frailty after adjustment for age, sex, race/ethnicity, smoking, hepatitis C infection, comorbidities and depression [adjusted odds ratio (ORadj) 2.16, P < 0.001]. A higher waist-to-hip ratio attenuated the coefficient of HIV-infected status (ORadj 1.93, P < 0.001), but not waist- or hip-circumference individually or markers of inflammation. Within the HIV-infected group, parameters related to body composition were most strongly and independently associated with prefrailty/frailty: current BMI less than 20 kg/m2 (OR 2.83, P = 0.01), nadir BMI less than 20 kg/m2 (OR 2.51, P = 0.001) and waist-to-hip ratio (OR 1.79 per 0.1 higher, P < 0.001).

Conclusion: HIV infection was independently associated with prefrailty/frailty in middle-aged HIV-infected patients compared with HIV-uninfected controls. This partly may be mediated by the higher waist- and lower hip-circumference in the HIV-infected individuals, potentially partially caused by lipodystrophy, and in part be a consequence of historic weight loss associated with advanced HIV-disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / pathology*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged