It is well known that kidney function declines with age. An increased risk of kidney (renal) failure for people with HIV has been associated with a low CD4 cell count, a high viral load and treatment with some antiretroviral drugs. Researchers in London examined data from over 15,000 HIV-positive patients. As expected, kidney function declined with age, but it was always lower than reported in studies of people who do not have HIV. People with HIV over 70 years of age were at greatest risk of kidney failure, especially if they had never taken HIV treatment. The risk was also elevated in the over-50s. These results provide another argument for starting HIV treatment soon after a person is diagnosed with HIV – in order to protect the kidneys. British treatment guidelines already recommend that people with kidney disease that is caused by HIV or with highly advanced kidney disease start HIV treatment as soon as possible.
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