HIV and ageing: Improving quantity and quality of life

Keri N. Althoff, Mikaela Smit, Peter Reiss, Amy C. Justice

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Evidence-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 findings Modifiable 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. Summary Viral 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-536
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent opinion in HIV and AIDS
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • HIV
  • ageing
  • multimorbidity
  • patient centred care
  • polypharmacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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