BACKGROUND: HIV-associated immune injury is hypothesized to increase the risk of preclinical disability and frailty via inflammatory pathways. We investigated the role of CD4+ T cell depletion and clinical AIDS on preclinical disability and frailty in HIV-positive women with a history of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) and HIV-negative women. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study nested within the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a prospective cohort study initiated in 1994 across five U.S. cities. Questionnaires and tests were performed by 573 HIV-negative and 1206 HIV-positive women. Prevalence ratios were computed using regression models. RESULTS: Severe CD4+ cell depletion was an independent predictor of slowness, weakness, and frailty in HIV-positive women compared with HIV-negative women. Women with CD4+ counts<100 cells/mm3 were 0.13 seconds slower to complete 4 meters (95% CI 0.06-0.21), 1.25 kg weaker (95% CI -2.31--0.19), and had 2.7 times higher prevalence of frailty (95% CI 1.46-5.01). CONCLUSIONS: This study is one of the largest studies to administer performance-based tests to investigate disability and frailty in HIV-positive women. HIV-positive women with intact immune systems and without a history of clinical AIDS were no different from HIV-negative women on tests of slowness, weakness, and frailty phenotype.
ASJC Scopus subject areas