The ageing of HIV: Implications for geriatric medicine
The prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the over 50 age group is increasing as a consequence of younger adults ageing with HIV, in addition to new diagnoses in later life. We conducted searches in MEDLINE for English language studies published between January 1984 and January 2010 using search terms 'HIV', 'AIDS', 'HIV testing' and 'HIV complications' and selected articles relevant to adults aged 50 years and over. The prevalence, natural history and complications of HIV infection and treatment in older adults are reviewed. In 2007 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States reported that 16.8% of new diagnoses of HIV that year were in individuals aged over 50 years. Older adults are vulnerable to late or missed diagnosis, and poorer treatment outcomes, due to the misconception that they are not at risk. A heightened awareness of HIV as a possible diagnosis in older adults is becoming increasingly important. As the HIV population ages, the emergence of disease and treatment complications such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and dementia are evident. Management of older adults with HIV and multiple co-morbidities presents challenges to infectious diseases physicians and geriatricians alike. Inclusion of older adults in future HIV clinical trials will help design healthcare models to provide for this growing population.