The Management of Geriatric and Frail HIV Patients. A 2017 Update from the Italian Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents and the Diagnostic Clinical Management of HIV-1 Infected Persons

J Frailty Aging. 2019;8(1):10-16. doi: 10.14283/jfa.2018.42.


Objective: This article deals with the attempt to join HIV and geriatric care management in the 2017 edition of the Italian guidelines for the use of antiretrovirals and the diagnostic-clinical management of HIV-1 infected persons.

Methods: The outlined recommendations are based on evidence from randomized clinical trials and observational studies published in peer-reviewed journals and/or presented at international scientific conferences in recent years. The principles of starting antiretroviral therapy in elderly patients and the viro-immunological goals are the same as in the general HIV population. However, there are some specificities to consider, related to the host as well as the therapy itself. HIV care in elderly patients must shift from a combined AntiRetroviral Therapy specific approach to a more comprehensive management, and from a disease-based model (list of co-morbidities) to a multi-morbidity and frailty standpoint. The implementation of a geriatric approach, based on the Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment, is essential and consists of a broader evaluation of health status. This multidimensional and multidisciplinary evaluation is focused on the development of a tailored intervention plan. Polypharmacy is a frequent condition in the older population and an independent risk factor for negative health-related outcomes. This can be overcome with a multidisciplinary and cooperative approach involving HIV specialists, geriatricians and primary care physicians.

Conclusion: The inclusion of geriatric care becomes necessary due to the novel needs of an evolving patient population. It is important to underline that the HIV specialist will continue to lead multidimensional interventions and optimize quality of care for HIV-positive people.

Keywords: Comprehensive geriatric assessment; HIV; frailty; guidelines.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Frail Elderly*
  • HIV Infections / therapy*
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents