HIV and Diseases Associated with Aging Epidemics are Colliding on a Global Scale
Do not regret growing older, it is a privilege not afforded to many with HIV remarked Judith Currier, Professor of Medicine and Co-Director of the Center for AIDS Research and Education Center (CARE) at the University of California Los Angeles at her Friday plenary talk on the Intersection of Non-Communicable Diseases and Ageing in HIV at the 2012 International AIDS conference in Washington, DC.
(A report by by Edwin Charlebois, MPH PhD on Judith Currier, Professor of Medicine, Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases and Co-Director of the Center for AIDS Research and Education Center (CARE) at the University of California Los Angeles at UCLA)
Dr. Currier reviewed the significant impacts of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, non-HIV related cancers, diabetes, and kidney disease that increase with age. She cited estimates that NCDs were responsible for 36 million deaths in 2008. For the HIV infected, success in improving survival with treatment has unmasked a higher risk of NCDs as patients age than in the general population. Non-aids related deaths now account for half of all deaths among treated HIV persons. Dr. Currier suggested that HIV and aging comprise a “double-hit” to HIV infected persons citing similarities in the detrimental processes of again and HIV disease including loss of immunologic potency and function, chronic immune activation and inflammation, and disruption of normal gastrointestinal barriers. Also contributory are the known side-effects from effective HIV treatment. However, many host factors important in NCDs such as smoking, hi fat diets, and lack of exercise are modifiable in HIV infected persons along with the benefits of early detection and treatment. Dr. Currier warned that there is a danger of erosion of the life expectancy gains from HIV treatment if we ignore non-communicable diseases among the aging HIV population and called for integration of screening and care for NCDs into HIV settings.