Journal Article

Are adults with HIV experiencing earlier aging or more conditions associated with aging compared to HIV-negative individuals?

As adults with HIV live longer they experience body changes and conditions often seen in older persons. An important question is whether these changes are occurring prematurely (accelerated) or are a manifestation of more changes occurring together (accentuated) but not necessarily earlier. A cross-sectional study of 134 HIV-treated adults, 45 yeas of age or older, were compared with 79 life-style similar individuals without HIV and 35 age-matched blood donors. Biological age was estimated using established biomarkers, and the difference of biological age with chronological age was defined as “Age Advancement”. This advancement measure was 13.2 years greater in HIV individuals than in blood donors. The presence of cytomegalovirus, hepatitis B and hepatitis C was also associated with higher levels of age advancement. However, when this age advancement number was measured for a correlation with chronological age, there was no association indicated by evidence of an increase of the age advancement estimate at a younger age. The conclusion of the authors from this observation was that this lack of a correlation with age suggests that aging in older adults with HIV is not accelerated but more likely accentuated. The authors suggest that these results will need to be duplicated in a longitudinal study to be confirmed. However, age advancement was greatest in people with HIV, possibly related to immune-suppression or the use of certain drugs.

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