How Does HIV Accelerate Aging?


Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN

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If you have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), you might also have other medical problems that are usually only experienced by older people. Even though there’s been a lot of research on the subject, doctors are still trying to understand how HIV accelerates the aging process. One thing’s for certain: scientists seem to agree that having HIV does mean you’ll age faster than someone without the disease. So how does HIV speed up the aging process? There are several theories being explored.

Metabolic Changes

If you have HIV, much of the current research shows you’re probably more at risk for age-related issues like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis compared to people living without HIV. Scientists have begun to discover these issues may be caused by metabolic changes occurring within your body. These types of changes happen when your body alters the way it uses food to give you energy.

Managing HIV goes beyond just taking your medications—you’ve also got to live a healthy life. These patients and physicians share how you can give your body what it needs to thrive with HIV.

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