Objectives: We investigated whether age modified associations between markers of HIV progression, CD4 T lymphocyte count and HIV RNA viral load (VL), and the following markers of metabolic function: albumin, haemoglobin, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and total cholesterol (TC). Methods: A retrospective analysis of data from the United Kingdom Collaborative HIV Cohort was carried out. Analyses were limited to antiretroviral-naïve subjects to focus on the impact of HIV disease itself. A total of 16670 subjects were included in the analysis. Multilevel linear regression models assessed associations between CD4 count/VL and each of the outcomes. Statistical tests for interactions assessed whether associations differed among age groups. Results: After adjustment for gender and ethnicity, there was evidence that lower CD4 count and higher VL were associated with lower TC, LDL-C, haemoglobin and albumin concentrations but higher triglyceride concentrations. Age modified associations between CD4 count and albumin (P<0.001) and haemoglobin (P=0.001), but not between CD4 count and HDL-C, LDL-C and TC, or VL and any outcome. Among participants aged <30, 30-50 and >50 years, a 50 cells/μL lower CD4 count correlated with a 2.4 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.7-3.0], 3.6 (95% CI 3.2-4.0) and 5.1 (95% CI 4.0-6.1) g/L lower haemoglobin concentration and a 0.09 (95% CI 0.07-0.11), 0.12 (95% CI 0.11-0.13) and 0.16 (95% CI 0.13-0.19) g/L lower albumin concentration, respectively. Conclusions: We present evidence that age modifies associations between CD4 count and plasma albumin and haemoglobin levels. A given reduction in CD4 count was associated with a greater reduction in haemoglobin and albumin concentrations among older people living with HIV. These findings increase our understanding of how the metabolic impact of HIV is influenced by age.
- Lipid metabolism