HIV Infected Individuals and Age Related Diseases: Appear at Similar Age as in Uninfected Adults

Heart attacks, cancer, and kidney failure among HIV-infected individuals has been thoroughly researched and the data shows that infected individuals are more likely to develop one of these diseases than people who are not HIV positive. This research began to be compiled in the mid-1990s, when those infected with HIV were starting to live longer thanks to new antiretroviral medications. Before these drugs were created, contracting HIV was almost certainly a death sentence. When HIV/AIDs first came onto the scene, the HIV cells would eradicate the immune system, the person would develop AIDS, and common diseases like the cold or influenza would ravage the body and kill the host. In the years since, however, antiretroviral drugs have been developed and continually improved upon, and HIV has become a manageable disease. In fact, many HIV-positive individuals have been able to live out their lives with the infection and, in the U.S. and other developed countries, are now dying of non-HIV related circumstances. With the numbers of older HIV-positive individuals growing, the amount of research on those in this group has increased. The latest studies now suggest that among HIV infected individuals, age-related diseases appear at similar ages, as compared with uninfected individuals.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health used data from almost 100,000 individuals, both infected and uninfected, who suffered from age-related diseases between 2003 and 2010. The results confirmed that those who are HIV-infected tend to develop heart attacks, cancer, and kidney failure much more commonly than in uninfected adults. However, it also showed that the ages of those developing heart attacks and cancer were the same in both infected and uninfected patients. Moreover, kidney failure seemed to only have a six-month gap between infected patients and patients who were not HIV positive. This news, that among HIV infected individuals age-related diseases appear at similar ages regardless of HIV status, shows that the timeline of getting checked for these diseases does not have to be significantly altered. However, the importance of checkups is still much greater for HIV-infected adults.