A study by researchers in Copenhagen shows that the use of anti-HIV medications significantly raises a person's risk of suffering a heart attack, the Los Angeles Times reports. The study, presented at the 10th annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, showed that among 23,468 HIV-positive patients taking HIV antiretroviral drugs, the risk of heart attack increased 26% each year. The researchers concluded that being on antiretroviral drugs presents a greater heart attack risk than having elevated cholesterol levels.
Other studies presented at the conference also showed a link between cardiovascular disease and anti-HIV medications, including a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study that found that protease inhibitors double a person's cardiac risk. "Patients should be monitored very carefully and encouraged to make lifestyle changes to lower their risk," said Jens Lundgren of the Copenhagen HIV Program.