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This Week In HIV Research

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This Week in HIV Research: Chronic Health Problems More Likely in Older People With HIV; and Mental Health Treatment Improves Adherence

November 11, 2016

This week, a study finds people living with HIV who are older than 65 are twice as likely to develop another chronic disease when compared with their HIV-negative counterparts. Another study finds that adherence counseling improves adherence among people living with HIV and depression. To beat HIV, you have to follow the science!


Older People Living With HIV Have Higher Rates of Chronic Health Problems

People living with HIV who are at least 65 years old are almost twice as likely to have another chronic disease than others of that age who do not live with HIV, an analysis of U.S. Medicare data from 2006-2009 published in AIDS showed.

The risk for comorbid chronic conditions for people living with HIV is also significantly higher than risk for the HIV-negative population. Study authors note that people living with HIV may have been screened for -- and subsequently diagnosed with -- conditions known to be related to HIV, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, at a greater rate than people without HIV.

The study calculated the likelihood of suffering from hypertension (HIV-positive individuals were 2.08 times as likely as HIV-negative individuals), hyperlipidemia (1.79 times), ischemic heart disease (1.84 times), rheumatoid/osteoarthritis (1.86 times) and diabetes (2.08 times). The results mean that "greater collaboration between infectious disease and chronic disease practitioners will be needed" to manage the care of older people living with HIV, study authors concluded.

Related: This Week in HIV Research: Antiretrovirals for Both Partners in Mixed-Status Relationship Prevent Transmission


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People Living With HIV and Depression Benefit From Combining Mental Health Treatment and Adherence Counseling

Adherence to treatment improved more among people living with HIV who suffer from depression when they received cognitive behavioral therapy or supportive psychotherapy along with adherence counseling than those who received enhanced treatment as usual (ETAU), results from a three-arm trial published in The Lancet HIV show. There was no significant difference between the cognitive behavioral therapy and supportive psychotherapy arms.

In the study, 240 participants were randomly assigned to the three study arms, with outcomes measured at 4, 8 and 12 months after study enrollment. Those in the ETAU arm had only one intervention at enrollment. The other two arms included 12 treatment sessions each. Higher attrition rates resulted from this longer treatment period, with a total of 216 participants completing assessments 12 months after study start.

"Mental health care providers should consider adding adherence counselling into their psychiatric treatment of patients with HIV who have comorbid depression and poor HIV medication adherence," study authors concluded.


Better Definition of Dimensions of Homelessness Could Impact Risk of HIV

While housing instability has been linked to an increased risk of acquiring HIV, the different dimensions of homelessness must be better defined to target help effectively, a study published in the Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Work found.

In a survey of residents at single room occupancy (SRO) buildings in Chicago, those who had moved into the building relatively recently tended to think of the SRO as a temporary solution and still considered themselves effectively homeless. They engaged in many of the behaviors that put people at risk of acquiring HIV, such as drug use. By contrast, SRO residents who had lived in the building for longer considered it their long-term residence and weren't as likely to engage in risky behavior. However, even these longer-tenured residents were worried about continuing to afford this minimal type of housing. In addition, many SRO buildings are closing.

"This limited option is getting increasingly scarce," lead researcher Elizabeth Bowen of the University at Buffalo noted in a press release about the study.

Warren Tong is the senior science editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com. Follow Warren on Twitter: @WarrenAtTheBody.

Barbara Jungwirth is a freelance writer and translator based in New York. Follow Barbara on Twitter: @reliabletran.


Copyright © 2016 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.


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