High Frequency of Recurrent Falls Among Prefrail and Frail Women With and Without HIV

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2021 Jun 1;87(2):842-850. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000002651.


Background: Frailty may occur at younger ages among HIV+ populations. We evaluated associations of the frailty status with self-reported single and recurrent falls in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).

Methods: The frailty status was defined using the Fried Frailty Phenotype (FFP) among 897 HIV+ and 392 HIV- women; median age 53 years. Women were classified as robust (FFP 0), prefrail (FFP 1-2), and frail (FFP 3-5). Stepwise logistic regression models adjusting for the HIV status and study site were fit to evaluate associations of the FFP with self-reported single (1 vs. 0) and recurrent falls (≥2 vs. 0) over the prior 12 months.

Results: HIV+ women were less likely to be frail (9% vs. 14% vs. P = 0.009), but frequency of falls did not differ by the HIV status. In multivariate analyses, recurrent falls were more common among prefrail [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 2.23, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.40 to 3.57, P = 0.0008] and frail (AOR 3.61, 95% CI: 1.90 to 6.89, P < 0.0001) than robust women. Among HIV+ women, single (AOR 2.88, 95% CI: 1.16 to 7.20, P = 0.023) and recurrent falls (AOR 3.50, 95% CI: 1.24 to 9.88, P = 0.018) were more common among those who were frail; recurrent, but not single falls, were more common among prefrail than robust HIV+ women (AOR 2.00, 95% CI: 1.03 to 3.91, P = 0.042).

Conclusions: HIV+ women were less likely to be frail. Compared with robust women, prefrail and frail women with and without HIV were more likely to experience single or recurrent falls within a 12-month period. Additional studies are needed to develop interventions that decrease development of frailty and reduce risk of recurrent falls among HIV+ women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Female
  • Frailty / physiopathology*
  • Frailty / virology
  • Gait / physiology
  • Gait Analysis / methods
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology*
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged