Older Age with HIV Increases Chronic Conditions 

OLDER ADULTS WITH HIV LIKELY HAVE MORE COMORBIDITIES.

This study utilized a large dataset of Medicare beneficiaries (n= 29,060,418 with 24,735 of these individuals living with HIV). All beneficiaries were over 65 years old and were Medicare Part A and Part B beneficiaries.  The researchers focused on the five most common chronic conditions found in older adults: hypertension, hyperlipidemia, ischemic heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis/osteoarthritis, and diabetes. 

Older adults living with HIV in this large study were more likely to be African American or Hispanic, male, and younger. With comparison to a similar group of those without HIV, they were more likely to live with each of the five conditions listed above as well as with higher numbers of these conditions. Older adults living with HIV were also more likely to have dual Medicaid and Medicare coverage, which is indicative of lower income status.   

Since most people in the United States who are over 65 years old receive health insurance through Medicare, this study provides critical insights. For instance, the race and income disparities that are often discussed among younger adults living with HIV appear to persist among their older counterparts. This study reflects how the wider issues of racial and economic justice cannot be easily separated from advancing the health and well-being of older adults with HIV. The results also indicate the importance of care coordination to serve this population: for instance, community health care workers or nurse case managers who have a strong grasp on these co-occurring conditions. Since people aging with HIV are at an even higher risk of these common comorbidities, all health professionals should be knowledgeable of the impact on persons 65 years and older living with HIV.  

 Friedman, E. E., & Duffus, W. A. (2016). Chronic health conditions in Medicare beneficiaries 65 years old, and older with HIV infection. AIDS (London, England), 30(16), 2529–2536. https://doi.org/10.1097/QAD.0000000000001215