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HIV/AIDS and the older gent

Jul 29, 2001

Dear Dr. H,

Thanks for all of your help in this comprehensive forum. A few weeks ago, I asked a questions about the progression of HIV to AIDS as a function of age. Before asking again, I searched through the archies and could not find the answer.

So, with your indulgence, I ask the quesiton again:

Is there any evidence that the progression from HIV to AIDS is more/less rapid when the man who contracts the virus at age 55, as compared with let's say 25 or 35?

You answer would be greatly appreciated.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Hmm, thought I answered that one. This has not been studied alot yet. There is data that shows older infected people respond to treatment in the same way as younger folks. There is some epidemiologic data that indicates older people my progress or die sooner than younger people. There many confounding variables here that need to be teased out. One big one is that older people usually have more coexistent diseases (eg. heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, risk of certain cancers). These can hasten death and have nothing to do with HIV. On the other hand, older folks have less immune system reserve (even without HIV), and so could progress more quickly as a result of HIV. This is an area of lots of research now. MH

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