30 years ago nobody would have imagined that people living with HIV would live healthy lives through to old age. The advent of effective treatments 15 years ago changed all that and we can now celebrate the fact that people living with HIV are ageing.
But the complications associated with ageing are increasingly being seen as the number one problem in HIV today.
University College Dublin’s Dr Paddy Mallon questions whether it’s accelerated ageing or accentuated ageing he’s seeing among his patients. ‘We are probably going to see more cancer and more heart attacks, more fractures, but we have little evidence to suggest this is the case at the moment.’
As we age the cells of our immune system reach a point where they can no longer divide. If you are HIV positive your immune cells have likely been working overdrive to fight HIV so they may reach this end point far sooner, causing inflammation and this contributes to all kinds of age