Navigate Up

UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
For Journalists
Allison Hydzik
Manager
Telephone: 412-647-9975
Senior Director
Telephone: 412-586-9777
Patient & Other Inquiries


Healthy ‘Aging with HIV’ Strategies Focus of Federal Grant to Pitt Public Health

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 21, 2015 – As the U.S. reaches an important milestone this year in the fight against HIV with more than half the people living with the virus older than age 50, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is launching a study to determine ways to promote health among aging gay and bisexual men, who make up about two-thirds of the people aging with HIV.
 
In an effort to create strategies for use in public health outreach nationwide, the research team will be taking an innovative approach to the study by looking for protective factors – called “resiliencies” – that are helping keep some men with HIV healthy and could be extended to other men, rather than simply fixing health problems as they arise. This research is funded with a three-year, $2.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
 
“We celebrate that medications now exist to enable people with HIV to live well into old age,” said study principal investigator Ron Stall, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for LGBT Health Research at Pitt Public Health. “But we also need to recognize that the health complications that come with aging – both mental and physical – are compounded when you’re living with HIV. It is critical that we develop research-based programs to support HIV-positive people as they age.”
 
The project will regularly survey 1,850 HIV-positive and -negative men participating in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), an ongoing research study that has enrolled thousands of men in Baltimore, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles over the past 30 years to participate in research on HIV/AIDS. The Pittsburgh arm of the study is the Pitt Men’s Study.
 
The study aims to tease out why some gay and bisexual men remain healthy well into later life, even with multiple risk factors for conditions such as depression and substance abuse. The research team will then determine strategies that could help all gay and bisexual men adopt resiliencies – whether it’s strong friendships, positive family ties, good coping skills or something else – that will give them a better shot at healthy aging, particularly when living with HIV.
 
The research team also will look at whether changing rates of resiliencies over time are associated with changes in substance use and other psychosocial health problems, as well as HIV-related health outcomes and medication adherence.
 
“Aging can be hard even when you have very few health risks,” said Dr. Stall. “A gay man who came of age in a much less accepting era and is positive for HIV has the odds stacked against him. He’s at greater risk for depression and substance abuse; he might not have prepared for retirement because he didn’t expect to live to reach it; and he may eventually need long-term care because he’s at greater risk for complications from diabetes and heart disease. And yet there are men facing all these risks who are defying the odds and leading healthy, happy lives. We could – and should – all learn from them.”
 
Additional core investigators on this project include Michael Plankey, Ph.D., of Georgetown University; and James Egan, Ph.D., Mack Friedman, Ph.D., and Dan Siconofli, Ph.D., all of Pitt Public Health.
 
This research is funded by NIH grant R01 MD010680.

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit www.healthwise.org

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA | UPMC.com