A new way to treat HIV in older people

Some antiretroviral therapies (ART) have negative side effects and age-related health problems limit the treatment options available to older people living with HIV.

This issue was the subject of the report at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) about the study that evaluated the efficacy and safety of switching older patients from a main treatment schedule to Bictegravir/Emtricitabine/Tenofovir Alafenamide (B/F/TAF). 

The study took place between February and May 2022, with 520 participants. The average age of the participants was 64 years.  They were divided into two groups, each consisting of 260 participants. One group received therapy according to the scheme B/F/TAF, while the other cohort received their previous treatment scheme. By week 48 of the study, HIV was suppressed in 98% of participants in the B/F/TAF group and 97% of participants in the control group, indicating similar treatment efficacy.  

At the same time a total of 296 individuals were monitored for bone density. 143 of them received the B/F/TAF treatment scheme and 153 received their previous treatment scheme. In the B/F/TAF group, the minimum bone density of the lumbar spine increased by 2.2% compared to the control group, which was 0.6%. 

According to the findings of this study, if patients aged 60 years and older are taking a treatment scheme containing Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate (TDF), it is safe and effective to switch to Bictegravir/Emtricitabine/Tenofovir Alafenamide (B/F/TAF). This treatment change is a good therapeutic choice for this population since it increases bone mineral density (BMD) and decreases the need to change treatments due to decreasing kidney function.

The research highlights the significance of tailored therapies for elderly individuals with HIV, suggesting a shift towards adapting future HIV treatment protocols to address the evolving health issues of this population.