London: People living with HIV have a significantly elevated risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and coughs, heart disease, pregnancy mortality and sepsis, anemia and bone fractures, according to a study.
For the study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers combined data from 20 separate observational studies and examined 55 different illnesses.
They found that people living with HIV are at an increased risk of contracting specific diseases and illnesses, some of which are more commonly associated with ageing.
“By pooling data from different studies, we have been able to show for the first time that even with the rise in life expectancy amongst people living with HIV, this population now seems to be disproportionately affected by chronic illnesses often attributable to lifestyle issues such as smoking, drug and alcohol use or more commonly associated with an older population,” said study researcher Lee Smith from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK.
Although the number of people contracting HIV is declining, approximately 1.8 million people are infected every year and HIV remains one of the world’s major health issues.
In recent years, people with HIV have benefited from improved access to antiretroviral treatment. However, increased life expectancy and a lower immunity has meant higher levels of comorbidity, with people living with HIV also more likely to suffer from other illnesses.
The greater prevalence of age-associated diseases may be explained by the persistent immunodeficiency and inflammation connected with HIV. There are also adverse effects associated with antiretroviral treatment.
Previous studies have also suggested that people with HIV in developed countries, as a population, often exhibit greater risk factors associated with non-AIDS related illnesses, such as smoking, drug use and alcohol use.