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Oursler KK, Goulet JL, Crystal S, Justice AC, Crothers K, Butt AA, Rodriguez-Barradas MC, Favors K, Leaf D, Katzel LI, Sorkin JD. Association of age and comorbidity with physical function in HIV-infected and uninfected patients: results from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study. AIDS Patient Care and Stds. 2011 Jan 1; 25(1):13-20.
HIV clinical care now involves prevention and treatment of age-associated comorbidity. Although physical function is an established correlate to comorbidity in older adults without HIV infection, its role in aging of HIV-infected adults is not well understood. To investigate this question we conducted cross-sectional analyses including linear regression models of physical function in 3227 HIV-infected and 3240 uninfected patients enrolled 2002-2006 in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study-8-site (VACS-8). Baseline self-reported physical function correlated with the Short Form-12 physical subscale (?? = 0.74, p? < 0.001), and predicted survival. Across the age groups decline in physical function per year was greater in HIV-infected patients ( (coef) -0.25, p? < 0.001) compared to uninfected patients ( (coef) -0.08, p? = 0.03). This difference, although statistically significant (p? < 0.01), was small. Function in the average 50-year old HIV-infected subject was equivalent to the average 51.5-year-old uninfected subject. History of cardiovascular disease was a significant predictor of poor function, but the effect was similar across groups. Chronic pulmonary disease had a differential effect on function by HIV status (? (coef) -3.5, p? = 0.03). A 50-year-old HIV-infected subject with chronic pulmonary disease had the equivalent level of function as a 68.1-year-old uninfected subject with chronic pulmonary disease. We conclude that age-associated comorbidity affects physical function in HIV-infected patients, and may modify the effect of aging. Longitudinal research with markers of disease severity is needed to investigate loss of physical function with aging, and to develop age-specific HIV care guidelines.