April 22, 2010

April 22, 2010
Aging Among Long Term HIV Survivors

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Wednesday and Happy Earth Day! I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. It is a slightly overcast but beautiful day here in south Florida.

I have a doctor appointment later today with Dr. Shumann at AHF Northridge. I will be getting my latest lab results to see how I am doing. Hopefully, there will be good news and all my counts are still doing the same. I have been feeling more tired than usual but I am hoping it is because of my busy schedule and not a change in viral load or Tcells.

Which leads into my subject for today. Did you know people with HIV and AIDS age quickly than those who are HIV negative? According to physicians, people living with HIV/AIDS experience signs of aging about 10 to 20 years earlier than HIV negative people.

More than one quarter of the one million HIV positive people in the United States are older than age 50, and half are expected to be older than 50 by 2015, according to CDC. HIV positive people older than age 50 are more likely to experience depression, memory problems, and liver and kidney diseases than are HIV negative people of the same age.

In addition, older people living with HIV/AIDS are more likely to experience lipodystrophy, a condition that rearranges fat in the body and can lead to insulin resistance, as well as increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Long term HIV survivors also can develop a bone disease called avascular necrosis, which can lead to the need for a hip replacement. The disease has been linked to medications that are taken to prevent pneumocystis pneumonia, an opportunistic infection common among people living with HIV/AIDS.

A 2006 AIDS Community Research Initiative of America study on the interaction between mental health and HIV found long term HIV survivors are nearly 13 times more likely to experience depression than the general population. In addition, long term survivors of the disease are more likely to commit suicide than people of the same age in the general population, the Times reports.

According to the Times, physicians have few guidelines to determine which age related conditions are caused by HIV, which are side effects of antiretrovirals and which are signs of aging. NIH and the Veterans Health Administration are conducting two long range studies of aging among people living with HIV/AIDS.

Just one more reason for those with HIV to take care of themselves even more so than those without HIV. Now I am almost 50, I guess I am the equivalent of someone in the 60s. And trust me, there are days I feel that way. Do not take me wrong, I am very grateful to still be here after twenty nine years of being diagnosed with HIV.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab