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Background. The proportion of older individuals infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is rising.

Methods. We performed a retrospective case-control study of 58 patients more than 60 years old at the time of diagnosis of HIV infection and compared them with 232 controls (matched by CD4 lymphocyte count). Clinical and demographic data were obtained from the Adult Spectrum of Diseases (ASD) database at the Medical Center of Louisiana.

Results. Patients in the older age group were more likely to be male and African American or Hispanic. The most common risk factor for acquisition of HIV infection among the patients was homosexual contact (53%). Disease staging was similar in both groups as determined by CD4 lymphocyte counts and history of opportunistic infections. There was no difference in the use of antiretroviral therapy. In a Cox proportional hazard model and regression models, age >=60 years was associated with shorter survival.

Conclusion. Patients who are older than 60 years at the time of diagnosis of HIV infection have a shorter survival than younger patients.

(C) 2001 Southern Medical Association