Background: Persistent immune activation and microbial translocation associated with HIV infection likely place HIV-infected aging women at high risk of developing chronic age-related diseases. We investigated immune activation and microbial translocation in HIV-infected aging women in the post-menopausal ages. Methods: Twenty-seven post-menopausal women with HIV infection receiving antiretroviral treatment with documented viral suppression and 15 HIV-negative age-matched controls were enrolled. Levels of immune activation markers (T cell immune phenotype, sCD25, sCD14, sCD163), microbial translocation (LPS) and biomarkers of cardiovascular disease and impaired cognitive function (sVCAM-1, sICAM-1 and CXCL10) were evaluated. Results: T cell activation and exhaustion, monocyte/macrophage activation, and microbial translocation were significantly higher in HIV-infected women when compared to uninfected controls. Microbial translocation correlated with T cell and monocyte/macrophage activation. Biomarkers of cardiovascular disease and impaired cognition were elevated in women with HIV infection and correlated with immune activation. Conclusions: HIV-infected antiretroviral-treated aging women who achieved viral suppression are in a generalized status of immune activation and therefore are at an increased risk of age-associated end-organ diseases compared to uninfected age-matched controls.
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