Burden and determinants of frailty, multimorbidity and decreased physical performance in the Barbados HIV-infected population

GA-CDRC Investigator:

T. Alafia Samuels (Principal Investigator)

Other UWI Investigators:

Clive Landis, Cave Hill campus

External Investigators:

Anton Best, Ministry of Health; Gregory Kirk and Damani Piggott, John Hopkins University.

Funding Obtained:

USD 50,000 from John Hopkins University Center for Global Health

Start Date:

June 2016

End Date:

January 2018



With increased access to combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), HIV-infected persons are living longer. Yet, survival gains have been accompanied by a rising burden of chronic non-communicable disease (NCD) and geriatric syndromes that may still precipitate increased hospitalization and premature death. Recent data suggest these shifts may be evident in the Caribbean region, a region with the second highest HIV prevalence worldwide and confronting the highest NCD burden in the Western Hemisphere today. Studies further suggest that HIV itself may increase the incidence of NCDs and deleterious geriatric syndromes, potentially fuelling the devastating collision of the HIV and NCD epidemics in the region.
The Barbados Aging Study (BAS), a collaborative effort between the University of West Indies Chronic Disease Research Centre, the Barbados Ministry of Health and Johns Hopkins University, was established to characterize the burden and determinants of aging related disease and geriatric syndromes in the Barbados HIV-infected population in order to identify putative intervention targets to promote healthy aging outcomes for HIV-infected persons.
The BAS study began enrolment in July 2016 and completed enrolment in May 2017. 519 HIV-infected persons were enrolled over the study period. Interim analysis revealed 54% of the study population to be 50 years and older and 59% male. The mean years of education were 11.5 and the median year of HIV diagnosis was 2006. Assessment of the prevalence and correlates of specific aging-related conditions and the key geriatric syndromes – frailty, multimorbidity and decreased physical performance are on-going. Interim study results will be presented at the 2017 Caribbean Cytometry & Analytical Society Meeting in Barbados.

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