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Clin Infect Dis. 2019 Jan 1;68(1):131-138. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciy430.

Frailty, Neurocognitive Impairment, or Both in Predicting Poor Health Outcomes Among Adults Living With Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Neurology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Department of Neurosciences, University of California San Diego.
Department of Internal Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus.
MetroHealth and Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Administration Medical Center, Department of Medicine, Ohio.
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.



Neurocognitive impairment (NCI) is strongly associated with frailty in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (PLWH); the overlap of frailty and NCI and the impact on health outcomes in PLWH are unknown.


PLWH in a longitudinal, observational study of aging completed entry evaluations for frailty and NCI. Outcomes of falls (recurrent) increased limitations in independent activities of daily living (IADL), or mortality were combined. Poisson regression models estimated prevalence ratios (PR) for ≥1 outcome over 2 years.


Among 987 participants, the median age at entry was 51 years; 19% were female; the median CD4 count was 616 cells/µL; and HIV-1 RNA was <200 copies/mL in 94%. Most (79%) participants had neither frailty nor NCI; 2% had both; 4% frailty only; and 15% NCI only. Over 2 years of observation, 100 (10%) participants experienced recurrent falls; 175 (18%) had worsening IADL limitations; 17 (2%) died; and 254 (26%) experienced ≥1 poor health outcome. In adjusted models, frailty with NCI was associated with more than double the risk of a poor health outcome (PR 2.65; 95% CI 1.98, 3.54); a significant association was also seen with frailty alone (PR 2.26; 95%CI 1.71, 2.99) and NCI alone (PR 1.73; 95% CI 1.36, 2.20).


The presence of frailty with NCI was associated with a greater risk of falls, disability, or death in PLWH than NCI alone. Interventions that target prevention or reversal of both frailty and NCI (such as increased physical activity) may significantly limit poor health outcomes among PLWH.


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