People living with HIV have twice the risk of acute myocardial infarction than their HIV-negative counterparts, a meta-analysis of 16 studies published in Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome found. The vast meta-analysis includes data on more than 1.6 million individuals who were followed for a median of six and a half years.
Modifiable risk factors, such as hypertension, smoking, and dyslipidemia, significantly contributed to this result. Greater prevalence of hypertension was associated with a 20% higher risk of infarction, and higher hyperlipidemia and smoking rates were each related to a 9% greater risk.
Comparing groups living with HIV with matched groups not living with the virus still yielded excess myocardial infarction risk among the seroconverters. Thus, HIV-related factors, including antiretroviral therapy, may also play a role in the greater burden of heart disease among those living with the virus, the authors wrote.
Study authors recommended aggressive management of traditional heart disease risk factors in people living with HIV, warning: "Unless [cardiovascular disease] risk is effectively managed in the HIV population, the gains in life expectancy conferred by antiretroviral therapies may be lost."