Aging with HIV Infection: Understanding Its Challenges in Ghanaian Patients

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Abstract:
Background: With the advent of antiretroviral therapy (ART), the prognosis of HIV-infected patients has improved remarkably; the life expectancy of patients who are virologically suppressed on treatment is now comparable to the general population. As such, the world’s HIV population is aging and with this comes challenges, including challenges that are related to HIV infection (e.g. physical comorbidities, isolation, stigma, job/financial instability, and the stressors of disconnecting with family and friends) as well as challenges that are seen generally among all aging populations (e.g. risk of polypharmacy, prioritization of medical care, and increased financial burden). We investigated this aging tendency and its unique difficulties in the context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ghana. Methods: We administered the Functional Assessment of HIV Infection (FAHI) questionnaire to Ghanaian HIV-infected patients on ART to assess quality of life (QOL) measures, including physical, functional, emotional, social, and cognitive well-being. Additionally, we conducted a patient chart review to gather basic demographic and clinical data that may correlate with QOL measures. Using one-way ANOVA tests (alpha level of 0.05), we evaluated for significant differences amongst age groups in FAHI scores, comorbidities, & abnormal clinical lab values. Significant results also received a post-hoc comparison analysis using Tukey’s test (alpha level of 0.05). Results: Emotional well-being scores are significantly lower (P < 0.001) in older patients in comparison to the younger patients. Rates of comorbidities and anemia are significantly lower (P < 0.05) in older patients, specifically those who were diagnosed later in life as opposed to earlier in life. Conclusion: Emotional well-being is one challenge that older HIV-infected patients face. However, biological health is not a challenge that older patients face unless they were diagnosed early in life. Future regression testing and comorbidity analysis will hopefully further elucidate these preliminary findings.
Notes:
Scholarly concentration: Global Health

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Vaghjiani, Nikisha, Reece, Rebecca, Norman, Betty, et al., "Aging with HIV Infection: Understanding Its Challenges in Ghanaian Patients" (2019). Warren Alpert Medical School Academic Symposium. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://repository.library.brown.edu/studio/item/bdr:957255/

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    The Warren Alpert Medical School Academic Symposium is an annual event at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University that provides Year II medical students a venue to present their summer research in a poster format. Participation in the Symposium …

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