Innovita Research Foundation

I.R.F. / Aging news / Diseases / 02102001

Age and HIV
Posted on: October 20, 2002

Age is an important predictor of progression in HIV infections. Not only do older individuals' develop AIDS more rapidly than younger persons, they die more quickly after developing an AIDS-defining illness. While the elderly have higher morbidity and mortality rates from viral and bacterial infections, the mechanism(s) responsible for the more rapid progression of HIV infection in older individuals has not been described. The destruction of T cells progresses at the same rate in both young and old HIV infected patients. HIV 1-infected cells from older individuals do not appear more susceptible to immune mediated destruction. The more rapid progression appears due to an inability of older persons to replace functional T cells that are being destroyed. These findings suggest that improved survival in older HIV infected individuals will require more aggressive antiretroviral therapies as well as continued research to identify and preserve immune system elements that control the virus.

Source: whadler@vax.grc.nia.nih.gov; James E. Nagel 1997
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