Heart disease and antiretroviral therapy

Cardiovascular disease (disorders of the heart and circulatory system which can lead to heart attack and stroke) is the leading cause of death in the UK and the US. As many of the metabolic changes associated with HIV and antiretroviral therapy are also risk factors for heart disease, there has been concern about the long-term consequences of these changes.

Although one of the major studies of cardiovascular risk in HIV has concluded that “an epidemic of cardiovascular disease in HIV-positive people receiving protease inhibitor-based treatment is not on the horizon”, there has still been a significant rise in cardiovascular disease among people on HAART and each individual's risk requires careful assessment.