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Age group differences in substance use, social support, and physical and mental health concerns among people living with HIV two years after receiving primary care-based alcohol treatment

Objectives: People living with HIV (PWH) have seen reduction in HIV-associated morbidity and increase in near-normal life expectancy, yet unhealthy alcohol use poses substantial risks to older as well as younger adults. Further research regarding age-associated physical and mental health concerns among PWH who drink alcohol is needed to inform services, given the expanding age range of patients in care.Methods: We compared age group differences (18-34, 35-44, 45-54, ≥55 years old) in two-year patient-reported outcomes and HIV viral control among PWH enrolled in a primary care-based behavioral alcohol intervention trial; with 90% follow up from baseline.Results: Of 553 PWH, 50 (9%) were 18-34, 85 (15%) were 35-44, 197 (36%) were 45-54, and 221 (40%) were ≥55 years old. Most were men (97%) and White (64%). At two years, PWH ≥55 reported less substance use in the prior 30 days, fewer social contacts, and more pain; younger PWH had lower antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence. In adjusted analyses, PWH ages 18-34 had higher odds of unhealthy alcohol use, tobacco, cannabis, or other substances compared to those ≥55; with higher odds of anxiety among PWH 35-44 compared with those ≥55; and physical quality of life was worse among those ≥55 compared with younger groups.Conclusions: While older PWH report less substance use than younger PWH and have better ART adherence post-treatment, they are more likely to experience limited social support and worse physical quality of life. Findings can inform interventions to address varying needs of PWH across the lifespan.

Authors: Satre, Derek D; Sarovar, Varada; Leyden, Wendy A; Leibowitz, Amy S; Lam, Jennifer O; Hojilla, J Carlo; Davy-Mendez, Thibaut; Hare, Charles B; Silverberg, Michael J

Aging Ment Health. 2023 May;27(5):1011-1019. Epub 2022-06-29.

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