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J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2007 Jan-Feb;18(1 Suppl):S11-6.

Current clinical issues impacting the lives of patients living with HIV/AIDS.

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  • New England AIDS Education and Traning Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


By significantly delaying the onset of AIDS, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) decreases the high rates of mortality and morbidity previously associated with HIV type 1 infection. However, to gain the therapeutic benefits of HAART, patients must commit to lifelong therapy, which carries an increased risk of multiple metabolic comorbidities, including dyslipidemia and hyperglycemia. Hyperlipidemia associated with HAART can be accompanied by abnormal accumulation of adipose tissue in the abdominal and dorsocervical regions, collectively known as lipodystrophy. Additionally, hyperglycemia associated with HAART causes development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Moreover, patients experiencing adverse metabolic effects associated with HAART have an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Currently, metabolic comorbidities in patients infected with HIV are managed by interventional pharmacotherapy. However, because HAART regimens already have such high pill burdens, treatment of comorbidities with additional drugs may lead to nonadherence. This article will review the differential metabolic effects of various HAART regimens and the clinical implications for patients living with HIV/AIDS.

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