HIV and aging

Int J Infect Dis. 2016 Dec;53:61-68. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2016.10.004. Epub 2016 Oct 15.


With the wider availability of antiretrovirals, the world's HIV population is aging. More than 10% of the 34.5 million HIV-positive individuals worldwide are over the age of 50 years and the average age continues to increase. In the USA more than 50% of the 1.3 million people with HIV are over 50 years old and by the year 2030 it is estimated that 70% will be over the age of 50 years. Although the life expectancy of HIV-positive people has increased dramatically, it still lags behind that of HIV-negative individuals. There is controversy about whether HIV itself accelerates the aging process. Elevated rates of inflammation seen in people with HIV, even if their viral loads are suppressed and their CD4 counts are preserved, are associated with greater rates of cardiovascular, renal, neurocognitive, oncological, and osteoporotic disease. These conditions increase exponentially in the elderly and will represent a major challenge for HIV patients. In addition, conditions such as geriatric syndromes including frailty are also seen at higher rates. Management of the aging HIV patient includes an emphasis on early diagnosis and treatment, preventative measures for co-morbidities, and avoiding polypharmacy. Finally, the issue of quality of life, prioritization of medical issues, and end of life care become increasingly important as the patient grows older.

Keywords: Aging; Antiretroviral; Co-morbidities; HIV; Inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Comorbidity
  • Disease Management*
  • Geriatrics
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Life Expectancy
  • Polypharmacy
  • Quality of Life
  • Viral Load