Frailty and Constellations of Factors in Aging HIV-infected and Uninfected Women--The Women's Interagency HIV Study

J Frailty Aging. 2016;5(1):43-8. doi: 10.14283/jfa.2016.79.


Background: Biological similarities are noted between aging and HIV infection. Middle-aged adults with HIV infection may present as elderly due to accelerated aging or having more severe aging phenotypes occurring at younger ages.

Objectives: We explored age-adjusted prevalence of frailty, a geriatric condition, among HIV+ and at risk HIV- women.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: The Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).

Participants: 2028 middle-aged (average age 39 years) female participants (1449 HIV+; 579 HIV-).

Measurements: The Fried Frailty Index (FFI), HIV status variables, and constellations of variables representing Demographic/health behaviors and Aging-related chronic diseases. Associations between the FFI and other variables were estimated, followed by stepwise regression models.

Results: Overall frailty prevalence was 15.2% (HIV+, 17%; HIV-, 10%). A multivariable model suggested that HIV infection with CD4 count<200; age>40 years; current or former smoking; income ≤$12,000; moderate vs low fibrinogen-4 (FIB-4) levels; and moderate vs high estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) were positively associated with frailty. Low or moderate drinking was protective.

Conclusions: Frailty is a multidimensional aging phenotype observed in mid-life among women with HIV infection. Prevalence of frailty in this sample of HIV-infected women exceeds that for usual elderly populations. This highlights the need for geriatricians and gerontologists to interact with younger 'at risk' populations, and assists in the formulation of best recommendations for frailty interventions to prevent early aging, excess morbidities and early death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count / methods
  • Female
  • Fibrinogen / analysis
  • Frail Elderly / statistics & numerical data*
  • HIV Infections* / blood
  • HIV Infections* / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Statistics as Topic


  • Fibrinogen