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AIDS survivors suffer premature aging, Needs/NIH Response
 
 
  Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:49AM
www.presstv.ir
 
Many HIV survivors have been showing the symptoms of physical health deterioration in the past three decades similar to that seen during an accelerated aging process.
 
Thirty years after the first patient was diagnosed with AIDS, doctors are seeing that many of some long-term survivors are suffering from unanticipated signs of premature or "accelerated" aging, AP reported.
 
The findings show that HIV positive patients even those who may not survive for long are more prone to certain types of cancer, neurological disorders and heart conditions that typically afflict the elderly.
 
Moreover, many HIV positive patients in their 40s and 50s are diagnosed with conditions such as memory loss, arthritis, renal failure and high blood pressure that mostly occur in older ages.
 
Studies suggest that HIV does not directly cause premature aging but may flare up underlying diseases that patients are more likely to show later on in life, scientists said.
 
"Coupled with the aging process, the extended exposure of these adults to both HIV and antiretroviral drugs appears to increase their risk of illness and death from cardiovascular, bone, kidney, liver and lung disease, as well as many cancers not associated directly with HIV infection," said the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
 
"In those with long-term HIV infection, the persistent activation of immune cells by the virus likely increases the susceptibility of these individuals to inflammation-induced diseases and diminishes their capacity to fight certain diseases," said the US federal health agency's chiefs of infectious diseases, aging and AIDS research.
 
"Coupled with the aging process, the extended exposure of these adults to both HIV and antiretroviral drugs appears to increase their risk of illness and death from cardiovascular, bone, kidney, liver and lung disease, as well as many cancers not associated directly with HIV infection," the health official added.
 
Loneliness, financial worries and concerns about quality of life affects long-term AIDS survivors in the same way as the elderly, Charles Emlet, a social work professor at the University of Washington, Tacoma, said.
 
Scientists and health experts are working to develop new treatment guidelines to help HIV survivors cope with getting frail a decade or two ahead of schedule and to remain independent for as long as possible.
 
However, experts emphasize that accelerated aging process in HIV patients brings up further special needs that governments and health officials should consider in programs and services considering these individuals.
 
 
 
 
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