Due to effective antiretroviral therapy, it is now common for HIV-infected persons to survive into the sixth and seventh decades of life. However, older persons with HIV, defined as those 50 years of age and older, are prematurely experiencing many of the chronic conditions commonly seen in non-infected persons over the age of 70, such as cognitive decline, dementia, physical frailty and other aging-related comorbidities. Emerging data suggest that minorities are disproportionately affected by these premature chronic conditions, yet there have been few studies to characterize and treat these chronic conditions of aging in this population. Eliminating racial disparities in older persons with HIV will require new knowledge about the effects of HIV infection on aging-related comorbidities in minorities. There are relatively few available sources of clinical data and biospecimens from well-characterized older minorities with HIV that can be used to examine racial disparities in health. To fill this gap and address a burgeoning public health problem, the Rush CEDHA Research Core will recruit and enroll a unique cohort of older minority and non-minority persons with and without HIV to provide a source of longitudinal clinical data and biologic specimens. These data will be stored, catalogued, and made available through a repository to local and national investigators to support high quality, cutting edge clinical and basic science studies that focus on the intersection of HIV and aging. Further, these data will be linked to identical data collected from older (>65 years) HIV-uninfected persons of African American and Caucasian backgrounds participating in three ongoing cohort studies of aging at Rush. The Research Core is essential for both the proposed research projects and training efforts of the Rush CEHDA to eliminate health disparities in HIV and improve the health of older minorities infected with HIV.
The Research Core will generate data and biospecimens to support meritorious scientific investigations on health disparities of HIV and aging. Knowledge gained through studies supported by the Research Core will produce advances in biomedical and behavioral knowledge that will be invaluable to improving minority health and eliminating disparities in health.
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