AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1684–1690 | Cite as

The Impact of Comorbidities, Depression, and Substance Use Problems on Quality of Life Among Older Adults Living With HIV

  • Brett M. Millar
  • Tyrel J. Starks
  • Sitaji Gurung
  • Jeffrey T. Parsons
Original Paper


Older adults living with HIV (OALWH) comprise a growing population with a range of complex and interconnecting medical and psychosocial needs. Based on the biopsychosocial model with its emphasis on a holistic approach to various aspects of people’s lives, the current study explored associations between physical health, psychological health, substance use, and overall quality of life. Drawing on data from 114 substance-using OALWH (aged 50 or older), we employed linear regression to show associations between the number of current comorbid health conditions on quality of life, over and above depression, substance use problems, and demographic characteristics (age, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, education, and relationship status). In both bivariate and multivariable contexts, the number of comorbid conditions was associated with reduced quality of life. Depression and substance use were also negatively associated with quality of life. These findings indicate that clinical and supportive care for OALWH, particularly when related to mental health and substance use, should also include an integrated focus on the comparatively high number of current comorbid conditions that often accompany, and potentially complicate, HIV treatment and quality of life.


Aging Comorbid Depression Substance use Health 



This study was funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) (R01-DA029567); (PI: Jeffrey Parsons).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brett M. Millar
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tyrel J. Starks
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sitaji Gurung
    • 1
    • 4
  • Jeffrey T. Parsons
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies & TrainingHunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY)New YorkUSA
  2. 2.Health Psychology and Clinical Sciences Doctoral Program, The Graduate CenterCUNYNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychology, Hunter CollegeCUNYNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health PolicyNew YorkUSA

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