Study findings presented at IDWeek 2021 show that mental health conditions and heart disease are driving rising rates of polypharmacy and multimorbidity among people living with HIV.

Polypharmacy is a fancy word for taking multiple medications, and multimorbidity simply means having more than one chronic con-dition. About 65% of all Americans fit the bill in 2016, and people aging with HIV are even more susceptible. Indeed, between 2014 and 2018, the proportion of people with HIV who were taking multiple meds rose by 7%, to 76%.

Some of this was driven by increased use of HIV medications, which 65% of people in this cohort were taking by 2018. But most of the meds were for the usual conditions of aging, most commonly cardiovascular disease, anxiety or depression, diabetes, osteoporosis and lung disease.