Comorbidities in Older Persons with Controlled HIV Infection: Correlations with Frailty Index Subtypes

Jacqueline M. McMillan, Michael John Gill, Christopher Power, Esther Fujiwara, David B. Hogan, Leah H. Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Frailty is prevalent in persons with human immunodeficiency virus (PWH), but factors predisposing older PWH to frailty remain uncertain. We examined factors associated with frailty and determined whether there were multiple frailty subtypes in older adults with controlled HIV infection. This was a cross-sectional outpatient study in an urban HIV clinic. Twenty-nine clinical indicators were extracted from medical records to compute a Frailty Index (FI) for 389 older (age 50+) PWH (range = 50-93; mean = 61.1, standard deviation = 7.2; 85% men) receiving HIV treatment in Calgary, Canada. We used regressions to identify factors associated with FI values. Latent class analysis was used to identify FI subtypes. Age, employment status, and duration of known HIV infection were the strongest predictors of FI (p's < 0.05). Four FI subtypes were identified. Subtype 1 (severe metabolic dysfunction+polypharmacy) had the highest mean FI (0.30). Subtype 2 (less severe metabolic dysfunction+polypharmacy) and Subtype 3 (lung and liver dysfunction+polypharmacy) had lower but equivalent mean FIs (0.20 for each). Subtype 4 (least severe metabolic dysfunction) had the lowest mean FI (0.13; p's < 0.001). Sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics differed among the subtypes. Individuals with Subtype 1 were older and more frequently unemployed/retired, whereas those with Subtype 3 were more likely to smoke, use crack/cocaine, have heavy alcohol use, and live in temporary/unstable housing. The clinical presentation of frailty in older PWH is heterogeneous. The metabolic syndrome, hepatitis C virus coinfection, cirrhosis, lung disease, and polypharmacy were associated with frailty as were unemployment/retirement, unstable housing, and substance use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-294
Number of pages11
JournalAIDS patient care and STDs
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • HIV
  • frailty
  • liver cirrhosis
  • lung disease
  • metabolic syndrome
  • polypharmacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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