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Atherosclerosis. 2011 Dec;219(2):384-9. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2011.06.003. Epub 2011 Jun 13.

Cardiovascular implications of HIV-induced dyslipidemia.

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AtheroThrombosis Research Unit, Cardiovascular Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029, United States.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is currently the second most frequent cause of death (after cancer) among HIV-positive subjects. The clinical use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has dramatically reduced mortality and morbidity in HIV-positive population, leading to prolonged and improved quality of life. However, as mortality and morbidity from AIDS-related conditions improve, CVD assumes increasing magnitude. It is estimated that by 2015 more than 50% of HIV-positive patients will be older than 50 years. Since age is a major unmodifiable cardiovascular risk factor, the risk for CVD in this population will significantly and progressively increase in the near future. A large part of the risk for cardiovascular events appears to be a result of lipid abnormalities characterizing HIV-positive persons. This review focuses on HIV-associated lipid abnormalities and CVD. Lipid abnormalities may be related to either viral infection, HAART or both. Dyslipidemia characterizing HIV-infected patients has become a therapeutic target to reduce cardiovascular risk of HIV-treated patients. HAART-treated patients show an atherogenic lipid profile comprised of low HDL-cholesterol levels, hypertrigliceridemia and increased levels of small-LDL particles. Current guidelines for the treatment of dyslipidemia and reducing cardiovascular risk in HIV-positive patients suggest that when lifestyle modifications (i.e., diet and exercise) and switching antiretroviral therapy are not enough, statins should be the first-line therapy for dyslipidemia. HDL raising interventions (niacin and fibrates) should be considered to raise HDL levels and lower triglyceride in HIV-infected patients. Implications of lipid-related interventions in HIV-treated patients to avoid drug interactions and their adverse effects are also discussed.

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