The Effects of Aging and HIV Disease on Employment Status and Functioning

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Abstract

Objective: As the prevalence of older adults living with HIV disease increases, questions are emerging regarding the extent to which older age amplifies the adverse effects of HIV on employment status and functioning. This cross-sectional study sought to (1) investigate the combined effects of HIV and older age on employment status, (2) identify clinicodemographic correlates of employment status among older HIV+ persons, and (3) examine the combined effects of HIV and age on workplace performance among employed participants. Method: The sample was 358 HIV+ (163 older, 195 younger) and 193 HIV− (94 older, 99 younger) adults, who completed a comprehensive neurocognitive research assessment that included measures of employment status and current workplace functioning. Results: We observed main effects of HIV and age on employment status, but no interaction. The older HIV+ sample demonstrated particularly high rates of disability, rather than elective retirement or unemployment. Among older HIV+ adults significant predictors of employment status included age, global neurocognitive functioning, combination antiretroviral therapy status, age at HIV infection, and hepatitis C coinfection. Finally, self-reported work functioning of older HIV+ adults differed only from the younger HIV− group. Conclusion: Findings suggest that older age and HIV disease have additive adverse effects on employment status, but not work functioning, and that employment status is associated with both neurocognitive and medical risk factors among older HIV+ adults. Further longitudinal research is needed to elucidate specific disease and demographic characteristics that may operate as protective factors for retaining gainful employment among older HIV+ adults.

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