Aging With AIDS
People infected by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are living longer because treatment with antiretroviral drugs has improved significantly. But how does living with HIV affect the body as we age?
It's estimated that by 2015, approximately half of those individuals infected in the United States will be over the age of 50. HIV-infected individuals are at an increased risk of more traditional non-AIDS related illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, neurocognitive decline, and other complications normally associated with age. What concerns experts is that HIV-infected individuals potentially suffer from accelerated aging, and can suffer from diseases normally associated with enhanced age much sooner.
This concern has prompted investigators at Drexel University College of Medicine to research how living a life with HIV affects the aging process. The College has established an HIV, Aging, and Cognition Program based within the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease. An interdisciplinary research program involving multiple investigators in six different departments at the College of Medicine, as well as investigators from other colleges within Drexel University, was convened to research topics such as HIV neurotoxicity, the physical impact of HIV disease on human aging, and impact of aging on HIV transmission, among others.
Research and Care
The research being done in these areas now will enhance how HIV-infected people are cared for over the course of their lives. Getting the proper care once a diagnosis is made is extremely important. That's why patients have been turning to The Partnership Comprehensive Care Practice of Drexel University College of Medicine for almost two decades. It is the largest comprehensive HIV primary care practice in the region, caring for nearly 2,000 patients annually.