Limited evidence is available on HIV, aging and comorbidities in sub-Saharan Africa. This article describes the prevalence of HIV and chronic comorbidities among those aged 50 years and older in South Africa using nationally representative data.
The WHO's Study of global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) was conducted in South Africa in 2007–2008. SAGE includes nationally representative cohorts of persons aged 50 years and older, with comparison samples of those aged 18–49 years, which aims to study health and its determinants.
Logistic and linear regression models were applied to data from respondents aged 50 years and older to determine associations between age, sex and HIV status and various outcome variables including prevalence of seven chronic conditions.
HIV prevalence among adults aged 50 and older in South Africa was 6.4% and was particularly elevated among Africans, women aged 50–59 and those living in rural areas. Rates of chronic disease were higher among all older adults compared with those aged 18–49. Of those aged 50 years and older, 29.6% had two or more of the seven chronic conditions compared with 8.8% of those aged 18–49 years (P < 0.0001). When controlling for age and sex among those aged 50 and older, BMI was lower among HIV-infected older adults aged 50 and older (27.5 kg/m2) than in HIV-uninfected individuals of the same age (30.6) (P < 0.0001). Grip strength among HIV-infected older adults was significantly (P=0.004) weaker than among similarly-aged HIV-uninfected individuals.
HIV-infected older adults in South Africa have high rates of chronic disease and weakness. Studies are required to examine HIV diagnostics and treatment instigation rates among older adults to ensure equity of access to quality care, as the number and percentage of older adults living with HIV is likely to increase.
aSydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
bDalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
cGeorge Institute for Global Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
dWHO, Geneva, Switzerland
eHuman Sciences Research Council, Cape Town
fNelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth
gGlobal Clinical and Viral Laboratory, Durban, South Africa
hDepartment of Anthropology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA.
Correspondence to Joel Negin, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Edward Ford Building A27, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Tel: +61 2 9114 0974; e-mail: email@example.com
Received 12 December, 2011
Accepted 6 April, 2012