Disability among Middle-Aged and Older Persons with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

Nikolas A. Johs, Kunling Wu, Katherine Tassiopoulos, Susan L. Koletar, Robert C. Kalayjian, Ronald J. Ellis, Babafemi Taiwo, Frank J. Palella, Kristine M. Erlandson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background. Older human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected adults may experience higher rates of frailty and disability than the general population. Improved understanding of the prevalence, risk factors, and types of impairment can better inform providers and the healthcare system. Methods. HIV-infected participants within the AIDS Clinical Trials Group A5322 HAILO study self-reported disability by the Lawton-Brody Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) Questionnaire. Frailty was measured by 4-m walk time, grip strength, self-reported weight loss, exhaustion, and low activity. Logistic regression models identified characteristics associated with any IADL impairment. Agreement between IADL impairment and frailty was assessed using the weighted kappa statistic. Results. Of 1015 participants, the median age was 51 years, 15% were aged ≥60 years, 19% were female, 29% black, and 20% Hispanic. At least 1 IADL impairment was reported in 18% of participants, most commonly with housekeeping (48%) and transportation (36%) and least commonly with medication management (5%). In multivariable models, greater disability was significantly associated with neurocognitive impairment, lower education, Medicare/Medicaid insurance (vs private/other coverage), smoking, and low physical activity. Although a greater proportion of frail participants had IADL impairment (52%) compared to non-frail (11%) persons, agreement was poor (weighted kappa <0.18, 95% confidence interval, 0.13, 0.23). Conclusion. IADL disability occurs frequently among middle-aged and older HIV-infected adults on effective antiretroviral therapy. Potentially modifiable risk factors (smoking, physical activity) provide targets for interventions to maintain independent living. Systematic recognition of persons at greater risk for disability can facilitate connection to resources that may help preserve independence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • HIV
  • disability
  • frailty
  • neurocognitive impairment
  • physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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