Teens Born With HIV Are at Increased Risk of Heart Disease, Says NIH: Is Medication to Blame?

This article was reported by Medical Daily.

Medical Daily reported on a National Institutes of Health study of heart disease risk in HIV-positive adolescents. The researchers investigated 165 adolescents ages 15 and older who were born with HIV, as part of the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study. The teens had received treatment with anti-HIV medications, including protease inhibitors, from birth.

The researchers measured participants’ risk of heart disease using a sorting system called the Pathobiological Determinants of Atherosclerosis in Youth that examined cholesterol levels, blood-sugar levels, and other risk factors of heart disease. If a participant scored one or more, the researchers categorized the teen as having an 18-percent higher chance of plaque buildup in the coronary arteries and a 24-percent higher chance of buildup in the abdominal aorta. Of the participants, 48 percent scored one or more in the coronary artery measure and 24 percent scored one or higher in the abdominal aorta measure. The researchers noted that the scores were mostly due to high cholesterol levels. Other risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure were not common.

The researchers concluded that a large number of HIV-positive adolescents seem to be at risk of cardiovascular disease later in life and advised healthcare providers to maintain the HIV treatment regimen for HIV-positive adolescents, carefully monitor their risk factors for heart disease, and encourage the adolescents to adopt measures that reduce the risk of heart disease.

The full report, “Aggregate Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Among Adolescents Perinatally Infected With the Human Immunodeficiency Virus" was published online in the journal Circulation (2013; doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.001978).