HIV and ageing: improving quantity and quality of life

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Purpose of reviewEvidence-based strategies are needed to address the growing complexity of care of those ageing with HIV so that as life expectancy is extended, quality of life is also enhanced.Recent findingsModifiable contributing factors to the quantity and quality of life in adults ageing with HIV include: burden of harmful health behaviours, injury from HIV infection, HIV treatment toxicity and general burden of age-associated comorbidities. In turn, these factors contribute to geriatric syndromes including multimorbidity and polypharmacy, physiologic frailty, falls and fragility fractures and cognitive dysfunction, which further compromise the quality of life long before they lead to mortality.SummaryViral suppression of HIV with combination antiviral therapy has led to increasing longevity but has not enabled a complete return to health among ageing HIV-infected individuals (HIV+). As adults age with HIV, the role of HIV itself and associated inflammation, effects of exposure to antiretroviral agents, the high prevalence of modifiable risk factors for age-associated conditions (e.g. smoking), and the effects of other viral coinfections are all influencing the health trajectory of persons ageing with HIV. We must move from the simplistic notion of HIV becoming a ‘chronic controllable illness’ to understanding the continually evolving ‘treated’ history of HIV infection with the burden of age-associated conditions and geriatric syndromes in the context of an altered and ageing immune system.

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