Having HIV is associated with a faster decline in lung function among younger people.

Between 2009 and 2017, investigators gave lung function tests semiannually to some 2,200 people, about half of whom were living with HIV.

Among those younger than 50, people with HIV experienced a faster decline in their lung function compared with those who did not have the virus. There was no such difference in the rate of decline based on HIV status among the participants older than 50.

Looking just at those with HIV, the investigators found that having had a lowest-ever CD4 count below 200 was associated with faster lung function decline, compared with having had a lowest-ever CD4 count above that point.

“These findings underscore the importance of early HIV diagnosis and the initiation of antiretroviral treatment, which might help mitigate the long-term decline in lung function,” says the study’s lead author, Jing Sun, MD, MPH, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.