Kidney function deteriorates more rapidly in older people with HIV than in age-matched controls in both untreated and treated people, suggesting that antiretroviral
therapy should be started soon after diagnosis with HIV to protect kidney
function, according to UK research presented to the recent 7th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV
Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in
People with HIV over 70 years of age were at especially high risk of kidney failure, but the risk was also elevated in the over-50s.
HIV treatment and care and a high rate of new infections mean that an ever-increasing
proportion of HIV-positive people are aged 50 and over. As a result, the
diseases of ageing are an increasingly important cause of serious illness and
death in people with HIV.
It is well known
that kidney function declines with age. An increased risk of renal failure for people with HIV, over and above that seen in the HIV-negative population, has
been associated with a low CD4 cell count, a high viral load and treatment with
some antiretroviral drugs, especially tenofovir and the protease inhibitors
atazanavir, indinavir and lopinavir.
the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital wanted to establish the age profile of
their patients in the era of antiretroviral therapy and examine changes in kidney
function according to age. Declines in kidney function were compared to those
observed in age-matched HIV-negative controls and a series of analyses were
conducted to see if any risk factors increased the risk of renal failure, which
was defined as eGFR below 30 ml/min per 1.73m2.
A total of 15,241 people received HIV care at the hospital between 1996 and 2011. The vast
majority (89%) were men, 71% were white and 82% had sex with other men as their
HIV risk factors.
population aged over the 15 years of the study. Between 1996 and 2000, 11% of
patients were aged 50 and above. This increased to 16% between 2001 and 2004 and to
19% between 2005 and 2008. By 2011, almost a quarter (23%) of HIV-positive
individuals receiving care at the hospital were aged 50 and over.
declined with age in both the HIV-positive people and the HIV-negative control group.
However, for all
age groups, kidney function was markedly poorer among HIV-positive people than
the HIV-negative control population.
Comparison between people with HIV showed that deterioration of kidney function was of a similar
magnitude for patients taking first-line antiretroviral therapy based on a
non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) and for patients taking
therapy that included a protease inhibitor. Especially marked declines in renal
function were observed in antiretroviral-naive people aged 65 and over.
A number of
factors were associated with an increased risk of renal failure. Two of these supported
the early initiation of antiretroviral therapy. The investigators found that
the degree of immune suppression was linked with the risk of renal failure. Compared
to people with a nadir CD4 cell count above 350 cells/mm3 – the
current threshold for starting HIV treatment in British guidelines –
individuals with a nadir count between 200 and 300 cells/mm3 had a
two-fold increase in their risk of kidney failure. The risk increased further as
immune function declined and a nadir CD4 cell count below 100 cells/mm3
was associated with an eleven-fold increase in risk. Shorter duration of time
since diagnosis with HIV – a surrogate marker for being antiretroviral naïve – was
also associated with an increased risk of kidney failure.
Increasing age at
the time of nadir CD4 cell count also increased the risk of renal failure.
Compared to people in their 40s, individuals in the 50 to 69 age group had
a two-fold increase in their risk, and this was increased by a factor of four
for people in their 70s.
therefore conclude that kidney function declines more rapidly in HIV-positive
people compared to matched HIV-negative controls. They believe that HIV itself
plays an important role in renal disease, suggesting “that antiretroviral
therapy should be started soon after diagnosis to reduce end-organ damage”. The
researchers also believe that the ageing of the HIV-infected population will
require improved linkage and integration of HIV services with renal care and
services for other co-morbidities.