Racial Differences in the Effect of HIV Status on Motor and Pulmonary Function and Mobility Disability in Older Adults

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2022 Oct;9(5):1888-1896. doi: 10.1007/s40615-021-01126-0. Epub 2021 Aug 17.


Background: Older Black adults face a disproportionate burden of HIV prevalence, but less is known about racial disparities in age-related outcomes in HIV. We assessed the effect of HIV status and race on motor and pulmonary function, as well as how they contribute to mobility disability.

Setting: Community-based study; Chicago, IL METHODS: Participants were 363 community-dwelling adults age ≥ 50 years, 48% living with HIV, and 68% Black. Participants with HIV were recruited from a specialty HIV clinic, and participants without HIV (comparable on key demographic, lifestyle, and behavioral characteristics) were recruited from the community. Measures included motor function summarized by 10 motor performance measures, pulmonary function summarized by 3 measures assessed using handheld spirometry, and self-reported mobility disability.

Results: In fully adjusted linear models, HIV was associated with better motor (β = 9.35, p < 0.001) and pulmonary function (β = 16.34, p < 0.001). For pulmonary function, the effect of HIV status was moderated by race (interaction between Black race and HIV status: β = - 11.66, p = 0.02), indicating that better pulmonary function among participants with HIV was less evident among Black participants. In fully adjusted models, odds of mobility disability did not differ by race, HIV status, or pulmonary function; better motor function was associated with lower odds of mobility disability (OR = 0.91 per 1-point higher, 95% CI 0.88-0.93).

Conclusion: Better motor and pulmonary function exhibited by participants with HIV could reflect access to medical care. Racial differences in lung function among participants with HIV indicate potential disparities in prevention or treatment of pulmonary disease or underlying risk factors.

Keywords: Aging; HIV/AIDS; Health disparities; Mobility.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Disabled Persons*
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Middle Aged
  • Race Factors
  • Risk Factors