Physical Functioning Among Patients Aging With Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Versus HIV Uninfected: Feasibility of Using the Short Physical Performance Battery in Clinical Care of People Living With HIV Aged 50 or Older

Open Forum Infect Dis. 2019 Mar 11;6(3):ofz038. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofz038. eCollection 2019 Mar.


Background: The Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) is a well regarded physical functioning assessment including balance, gait speed, and chair-stand tests. Its use has not been widely assessed in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) care. We evaluated the feasibility of integrating the SPPB into care of aging people living with HIV (PLWH) and compared SPPB performance with aged HIV-uninfected individuals.

Methods: We enrolled PLWH aged ≥50 at 3 HIV clinics and compared their SPPB scores and subscores with older HIV-uninfected adults in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) study. We conducted regression analyses on age stratified by sex and adjusting for site, and we calculated percentage variance explained by age among PLWH and HIV-uninfected adults.

Results: The SPPB was feasible to implement in clinical care and did not require licensed professionals; 176 PLWH completed it with a mean completion time of 7.0 minutes (standard deviation = 2.6). Overall mean SPPB score among PLWH was 10.3 (median 11.0, 25th percentile 9.0, 75th percentile 12.0). People living with HIV were younger than HIV-uninfected individuals (55 vs 74 years old). Mean SPPB scores and most subscores were similar among PLWH and older HIV-uninfected individuals despite the ~20-year age difference. Regression analyses of gait speed revealed similar slopes in PLWH and HIV-uninfected individuals; however, separate intercepts were needed for PLWH. Mean gait speeds were faster in older HIV-uninfected men and women (P < .01), yet relationships with age within PLWH and HIV uninfected were similar.

Conclusions: The SPPB can be implemented into busy HIV clinics. Despite the ~20-year age difference, mean scores were similar among PLWH and older HIV-uninfected individuals, although gait speed was faster among HIV-uninfected individuals.

Keywords: HIV; aging; physical functioning; short physical performance battery.