February 5, 2013
The National Institute of Mental Health recently presented a team of researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine with a $3.4 million grant for a large-scale investigation of successful aging in HIV-infected individuals between the ages of 36 and 65. Life expectancy of HIV-positive individuals has been progressing since the rise of antiretroviral therapy. By 2015, nearly half of HIV-positive individuals in the United States will be 50 years old or older; this number is expected to continue to rise. According to principal investigator Dilip Jeste, M.D., study goals include: examining positive psychosocial factors such as resilience, hardiness, optimism, and social engagement; and looking at biomarkers of physical and cognitive aging and comparing these factors in both HIV-infected and non-infected adults. Co-principal investigator David J. Moore, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at UCSD School of Medicine, explains, "Our hope is that understanding factors that promote successful aging at an individual level may lead to the development of new preventative and therapeutic interventions aimed at improving quality of life and well-being in adults living with HIV."