HIV and Aging

  • Study Director: Victor Valcour, MD, PhD
  • Sponsors: UCSF (REAC Award) and NIH (K24 Award)
  • Official Study Title: HIV Over-60 Cohort Study
  • Condition studied: HIV infection in people over 60 years of age

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is three-fold:

  1. To study the effects of HIV on cognition and function in people over 60 years of age and to establish diagnostic criteria for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND).
  2. To study the corresponding neurological changes (via MRI imaging and volumetric analysis).
  3. To study the characteristics of aging within HIV+ individuals.

Study Details

Inclusion Criteria

To qualify for the study, you must meet these requirements:

  • HIV+
  • 60 or more years old
  • Have never had a brain infection
  • Do not have Hepatitis C infection
  • Do not have current or history of drug use

Exclusion Criteria

Volunteers meeting any of the following criteria will be excluded from the study:

  • Age <60 years
  • Language other than English as the main language of oral and written communication
  • Unable to return for annual evaluations
  • Persons with major confounding cognitive factors including:
    • Korsakoff’s syndrome
    • Alcohol or substance abuse as a major cause of dementia
    • Current active use of methamphetamine, cocaine or illicit use of narcotics
    • Known to have current or past CNS lesions deemed to be clinically significant including that from past opportunistic infections
    • Uncontrolled Epilepsy or seizure disorder not due to correctable metabolic abnormality
    • Active or past brain infection except for HIV
    • Multiple sclerosis or other demyelinating diseases
    • Untreated B12 deficiency, hypothyroidism or neurosyphilis
    • Renal insufficiency requiring dialysis
    • Significant systemic medical illness such as cancer requiring chemotherapy or end stage cardiac insufficiency
  • Current or known past behaviors or cognitive issues without sufficient caregiver support that, in the opinion of the PI, will hinder annual assessments or unnecessarily consume resources of the study staff
  • HIV-negative control volunteers meeting the following criteria will be excluded from the study:
    • Significant memory or cognitive impairment
    • Diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease
    • Known functional impairment due to memory or cognitive impairment

What to Expect

Testing: Memory and thinking tests, neurological examination, brain MRI, blood draw, geriatric assessment, contact with a person who knows you well and can provide information about your memory, and annual follow-up

The Frequency of Visits: Annually

Materials Needed Before Evaluation: Diagnosis of HIV

Costs: There are no costs associated with the visit. Participants are compensated $50 for their time for the first segment of the visit, $25 for the second segment of their visit and $50 for the MRI. When possible, a $5 gift card will be provided for lunch.

Contact Information

If you are interested in participating in this study or have any questions, please contact the study coordinator, Shireen Javandel at or 415.476.1688.