To determine the prevalence of, risk factors for, and clinical manifestations of low androgen levels in older men who have or who are at risk of acquiring human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, we performed a cross-sectional analysis of an observational cohort of men aged ≥49 years old.
A standardized interview (regarding demographic characteristics, behaviors, and medical history) was performed, and body mass index, HIV serologic data, CD4+ cell count, the presence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) markers, and serum testosterone and human sex-binding hormone levels were determined. Factors associated with androgen levels were assessed using logistic regression models.
Among 502 men (age, 49−81 years) who were not taking androgens, 54% had total testosterone levels of <300 ng/dL. Low androgen levels were associated with injection drug use, HCV infection, high body mass index, and use of psychotropic medications (P < .05); black race was associated with higher androgen levels. Only among men who reported having sex with men was low testosterone level associated with HIV infection (adjusted odds ratio [ORadj] for total testosterone level of <300 ng/dL, 5.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2−22.4), but among all HIV-seropositive men, HIV load of >10,000 copies/mL was associated with a testosterone level of <200 ng/dL (ORadj, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.1−4.3; P = .03). On univariate analysis, low androgen levels were associated with decreased interest in sex, depressive symptoms, loss of concentration/memory, difficulty sleeping, osteopenia, and poorer subjective health (P < .05).
Most older men at risk for HIV infection have low androgen levels. Injection drug use, high body mass index, HCV infection, and use of psychotropic medications are associated with low androgen levels, and low androgen levels are associated with symptoms of hypogonadism.