UM’s D-CFAR Hosts Timely Symposium on Aging with HIV

Three decades into the AIDS crisis, the population of people living with HIV is aging. In fact, 25 percent of people newly diagnosed with HIV in Miami-Dade County are older than 50 and, by 2015, half of the HIV patients treated by University of Miami/Jackson Memorial specialists will have surpassed the half-century mark.

It is against this demographic backdrop that the University of Miami Developmental Center for AIDS Research (D-CFAR) hosted the 7th Annual HIV Winter Symposium on a timely continuing education topic: Aging and HIV Infection.

More than 70 physicians and other health care professionals attended the one-day course at the University of Miami Hospital Seminar Center, where participants learned to distinguish the natural consequences of aging from those caused by the AIDS virus, implement strategies for managing elderly patients infected with the virus, and contrast the relative risks of HIV and antiretroviral therapy on metabolic and cardiovascular changes at various ages.

“Like any other organ system, the immune system begins to lose function as it ages,” said symposium committee member Michael Kolber, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine, director of the Comprehensive AIDS Program and associate chief of infectious diseases. “Because of this, it does not work as well in the older population compared to younger individuals. When you add HIV to the equation, which further debilitates the immune system and increases metabolic problems, it is clear that older people will have more problems than younger individuals.”

The course, which earned participants up to six continuing education credits, was directed by Gordon Dickinson, M.D., professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases, and Savita Pahwa, M.D., professor of microbiology and immunology and director of the D-CFAR. The symposium featured talks by six guest faculty from four states, and one from the Miller School. Tracie Miller, M.D., professor of pediatrics and director of pediatric clinical research, discussed “Long-Term Consequences of Perinatal HIV Infection from Birth.”

The guest faculty were: Priscilla Hsue, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at San Francisco General Hospital; Peter D. Katsikis, M.D., Ph.D., of Drexel University of College of Medicine; Albert Shaw, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine; Kathleen Squires, M.D., professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College; Pablo Tebas, M.D., principal investigator of the AIDS Clinical Trial Unit at the University of Pennsylvania; and Nan-Ping Weng, M.D., Ph.D., of the Laboratory of Immunology at the NIH’s National Institute on Aging.

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