People who are diagnosed with HIV when they are 60 or older are more likely to have AIDS at that time, specifically an AIDS-defining illness or a CD4 count below 200, aidsmap reports.

Findings from a study that reached this finding, which was conducted by investigators on the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) Project Team, were presented at the 2018 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.

The investigators looked at data on the 3,000 participants of VACS, which recruits veterans when they are diagnosed with HIV through the Veterans Affairs health care system and matches them with HIV-negative veterans according to age, year of diagnosis, sex and race. The study authors also relied on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV surveillance of 238,311 individuals and 130 HIV diagnoses at the Nathan Smith HIV Clinic at Yale.

Between 2010 and 2015, 21 percent of those younger than 40 were diagnosed with HIV and AIDS simultaneously, compared with 49 percent of those older than 60. A respective 7 percent and 14 percent of these two age brackets were diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia upon testing positive for HIV; a respective 3 percent and 7 percent had shingles.

In the HIV-negative control group, a respective 1 percent and 2 percent of the two age brackets had bacterial pneumonia.

The researchers calculate that compared with their peers younger than 40, HIV-positive individuals in their 50s and in their 60s were a respective five and six times more likely to have bacterial pneumonia.

People with HIV were also more likely to have anemia and low platelets upon diagnosis of the virus as they got older.

The researchers concluded that individuals who have shingles, low platelets or bacterial pneumonia should receive HIV testing, as should those younger than 60 who have anemia or low lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell).

To read the aidsmap article, click here.

To read the conference abstract, click here.

To view a webcast of the conference presentation, click here.