5.9. Aging with HIV
At present, the life expectancy of people with HIV is steadily increasing, thanks to the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). As a result of advances in modern medicine, HIV has become a chronic condition. People who are receiving appropriate treatment and following a doctor’s recommendations are able to live a full life: HIV infection does not progress or develop into AIDS. Individuals who have HIV age naturally and have the same life expectancy as those without the virus.
It is believed that some diseases in the presence of HIV infection may start to develop more often and at an earlier age. Typical examples are cardiovascular diseases, fractures, muscle loss, liver disease and kidney disease. Nevertheless, so far scientists have not found a definite answer to the question of how much HIV infection contributes to the development of these diseases and whether it contributes at all. It is assumed that receiving HAART triggers "aging" of the immune system and its depletion, because it is in a constant struggle with HIV. A number of factors such as other infections (hepatitis, human papillomavirus (HPV), etc.), psychoactive substance abuse, and smoking significantly contribute to the development of age-related diseases.
We recommend that you maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat right, exercise, reduce alcohol consumption and eliminate drug addiction to slow the aging process. These recommendations are important not only for people living with HIV, but also for those whose status is negative.
The most effective treatment for HIV is highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in accordance with the assigned therapy regimen. The successful outcome of therapy depends upon a patient’s adherence to treatment recommendations: regularity of medication intake, adherence to dosing regimen, continuity of treatment and compliance.