Accelerated epigenetic aging using DNA methylation (DNAm) – based biomarkers well being reported in people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, PWH), but limited data was available among African Americans (AA), women, and older PWH. DNAm was measured using Illumina EPIC Arrays for 107 (69 PWH and 38 HIV-seronegative controls) AA adults older than or equal to 60 years in New York City. Six DNAm-based biomarkers of aging were calculated: epigenetic age acceleration (EAA), extrinsic epigenetic age acceleration (EEAA), intrinsic epigenetic age acceleration (IEAA), image, PhenoAge, and DNAm-estimated telomere length (DNAm-TL). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Toolbox Cognition Battery (domains: executive function, attention, working memory, processing speed, and language) and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was administered. Participants were evaluated for frailty on a Fried basis.

The PWH and control groups did not differ by sex, chronological age, or ethnicity. In total, 83% of PWH had a viral load of fewer than 50 copies/mL, and 94% had a recent CD4 greater than or equal to 200 cells/µL. The PWH group had a higher EAA, EEAA, GrimAge, and PhenoAge, and a lower DNAm-TL compared to the controls. IEAA did not distinguish between groups. For PWH, there were notable negative correlations between IEAA and executive function, attention, and working memory, and PhenoAge and attention. No attachment between biomarkers and frailty was discovered.

An older PWH using DNAm-based biomarkers of aging was detected with evidence of epigenetic age acceleration. No evidence of age acceleration independent of cell type National Institutes of health composition (IEAA) associated with HIV was found. This measure was related to decreased cognitive function among PWH.