Clinical Gerontology

Accelerated Aging in HIV Patients

Keren Meir-Shafrir and Shimon Pollack


Life expectancy has been increasing in the last few decades in the Western world and is accompanied by higher occurrence of age-related diseases like metabolic, cardiovascular, and renal diseases and also with a decline in immune functions. In HIV-infected people, due to the use of combination antiretroviral therapy cART, life expectancy has increased. As a result, non-AIDS conditions which are age-associated have become more prevalent and appear earlier, resulting in accelerated aging in HIV patients. These non-AIDS conditions in HIV patients are associated with CD4+ T cell counts: lower counts are associated with higher rates of liver, cardiovascular, renal, and neurocognitive disorders. The effect of viral load and cART on the earlier occurrence of age-associated diseases is less significant than the CD4 count effect. Thus, the loss of immune functions in HIV-infected patients may enhance aging.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2012;3(4):e0025