A study presented at the ninth European AIDS Conference, in Warsaw, shows that cardiovascular disease is a leading cause for hospital admissions among HIV patients in developed nations. Cardiovascular disease has been linked with both HIV disease and some of the antiretroviral medications used to treat it. "Our study results suggest that risk factors for cardiovascular disease should be an important consideration for physicians prescribing [anti-HIV] treatment regimens, particularly in patients over the age of 40," said lead study author Carl Fichtenbaum, an associate professor of clinical medicine and director of the Infectious Diseases Center at the University of Cincinnati. "Therapeutic considerations should include smoking cessation, the management of lipids and hyperglycemia, and the careful selection of antiretroviral agents."
The study, funded by drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim, showed that cardiovascular disease was even more common among HIV-positive patients taking anti-HIV drugs than kidney disease, liver problems, or AIDS-related opportunistic infections. "As people live longer with HIV, the long-term benefits and risks of antiretroviral treatment, and all aspects of a patient's health care are of increasing importance," said Boehringer official Douglas Mayers. "As we develop new treatments and invest in current therapies to treat HIV, understanding the long-term issues will help ensure we're providing treatments that address the unmet needs of patients and physicians."