HIV-Positive Older Adults Have Higher Risk of Many Chronic Conditions

October 17, 2016

ALTC Editors


Annals of Long-Term Care: Clinical Care and Aging. 2016;24(9):38.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claim that aging HIV-positive adults are much more likely to have certain chronic health conditions compared with HIV-negative people and suggest that health systems should prepare for the complexities of caring for this growing population (AIDS published online ahead of print).

Medicare claims data (parts A and B) from 2006 to 2009 were used to create a retrospective cohort of beneficiaries > 65 years old. Beneficiaries with one inpatient or skilled nursing facility claim, or two outpatient claims with HIV diagnosis codes, were considered HIV-positive.

HIV-positive beneficiaries were compared with uninfected beneficiaries based on demographic factors and on the prevalence of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, ischemic heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis/osteoarthritis, and diabetes. Chronic conditions were examined individually and as an index from zero to all five conditions.

Ultimately, Wayne Duffus, MD, PhD, associate director of Health Equity at the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, and a colleague evaluated 24,735 HIV-positive people out of 29,060,418 eligible beneficiaries.

They found that HIV-positive beneficiaries were more likely to be Hispanic, African American, male, and younger (P > .0001), and were 1.5 to 2.1 times as likely to have one of the conditions mentioned above. Moreover, in general, HIV-positive people were more likely to have been diagnosed with all five of these comorbid conditions than HIV-negative people.

They said in a statement that their study points to a need for more cooperation among specialists: “Greater collaboration between infectious disease and chronic disease practitioners will be needed to ensure the appropriate medical management of these patients including complex medication regimens.”

Authors did note that the study only examined data from a 3-year period, thus they do not know how long participants had been living with these conditions or the severity of the comorbidities.—Amanda Del Signore

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