A new study says HIV has a “significant” effect on the aging process

A new study suggests that HIV infection has an “early and significant” effect on the aging process.

Scientists have observed this negative effect in the first 2-3 years of infection. Even with treatment, those living with the virus could lose up to five years of life, they warn.

This may help explain why some people with HIV are more prone to heart disease, cancer and other age-related problems.

The study was conducted by scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). It was published in the journal iScience.

The study looked at blood samples from 102 men before infection and then 2 to 3 years after infection. He compared these results with blood samples taken from men who were not infected with the virus.

The study focused specifically on changes at the DNA level.

DNA and epigenetic aging

Long chains of proteins make up the DNA found in all human cells. DNA basically programs your cells and codes the functions they perform.

As our cells regenerate over time, these long chains of DNA undergo a degradation process known as methylation. This means that the cells in our body don’t work as well as they did when we were younger. We become more susceptible to potential illnesses or infirmities.

Related: CDC says gay and bi men still disproportionately affected by HIV

Biologically, what appears to be “aging” is complex. However, it is known that certain parts of DNA become more prone to this process with age. This is known as epigenetic view

In this study, people with HIV showed “significant age acceleration” in these DNA regions. These changes “occurred before infection and ended two to three years later, in the absence of highly active antiretroviral treatment. A similar age-related acceleration was not observed in uninfected participants during the same time period,” said a press release about the study.

“Our access to rare, well-characterized samples allowed us to design this study in a way that leaves little doubt about the role of HIV in causing biological markers of premature aging,” said senior author Beth Jamieson, professor of hematology. and oncology at the Geffen School.

“Our long-term goal is to identify which of these signatures we can use to predict whether a person is at risk for certain consequences of aging, thus opening up new targets for interventional therapies.”

The treatment partially reverses the effects of aging

This is not the first study to look at HIV and aging. In May, a Lancet study showed that “persistent HIV inflammation” is associated with DNA aging.

In other words, the biological age of those infected with the virus turned out to be older than their current age.

This is often seen in people who have been gone for some time before starting treatment. When treatment was started, it took several years for the effects to partially reverse.

That study found biological The age of infected patients is 1-3 years older than theirs current an act.

interesting turned to the doctor. Jamison at UCLA to ask him more about his new study. He says those who are diagnosed and treated quickly after infection are less likely to worry.

“We didn’t directly test the effect of early HIV treatment on epigenetic aging, but combined with the results of our other two studies, I believe that early treatment can reverse epigenetic aging.”

He believes this latest study is “another strong argument for early detection and treatment of HIV.”

“This study clearly shows that HIV itself can alter the rate of epigenetic aging, which increases the long-term health risks of a person.

“I think another important aspect of this work is that this study gives a much clearer picture of the overall effect of HIV infection on the body. We are following up to better understand the relationship between these epigenetic changes and health outcomes in people living with HIV.

Related: Marjorie Taylor Green Shows Total Ignorance About HIV

Preventing health problems in older people living with HIV

Since HIV-positive people may be more susceptible to heart, kidney, and liver disease, what advice can Jamieson give to prevent TB? Is it just adopting a healthy lifestyle and regular checkups with your clinic?

“One of the things we know is that our environment and our experiences affect epigenetics, so epigenetic aging cannot be improved,” he replied.

“The first thing that comes to mind is that people living with HIV should work with their clinics to get anti-viral drugs.

“Apart from this advice, we should get all the advice given to people who are not HIV positive. This is exactly what you recommend. Get enough sleep, eat well, quit smoking, exercise, and get regular checkups. We know that smoking has a profound effect on the epigenetic landscape, so smokers may want to take that into account.”

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