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  • Posted February 16, 2024

Women With HIV Age Faster, Study Shows

Women with HIV experience accelerated DNA aging, potentially leading to poorer physical function sooner in life than expected, a new study says.

Markers of aging measured in blood revealed that women with HIV age faster than their chronological age, according to results published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

"Understanding the molecular mechanisms behind accelerated aging in people with HIV is crucial for developing targeted interventions and improving the quality of life for those living with the virus,” lead researcher Stephanie Shiau, an assistant professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the Rutgers University School of Public Health, said in a news release.

The results mirror previous studies that reported accelerated aging in men with HIV, Shiau said.

More than half of people living with HIV around the world are women, and women accounted for an estimated 46% of new infections in 2022.

For the study, researchers recruited 195 women with HIV ages 40 to 60 and compared them to women without the virus.

The researchers analyzed how aging biomarkers in their blood were related to their bone mineral density and measurements of physical function like muscle strength, walking speed, balance and endurance.

Researchers found that women in both groups who couldn't stand on one leg stand for 30 seconds displayed increased aging.

Further research is needed to confirm and better understand the association between HIV, accelerated aging and physical function, researchers said.

"The work demonstrates that women living with HIV experience an accelerated aging process at the DNA level, and that this aging process may be linked to functional outcomes," Shiau said. “Future studies will need to see whether these findings are observed longitudinally.”

More information

Gay Men's Health Crisis has more on HIV and rapid aging.

SOURCE: Rutgers University, news release, Feb. 15, 2024

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