Extra screening of cardiovascular risk for patients on ARVs 'crucial'

27 September 2017 - 14:27 By Dave Chambers
HIV ribbon. File photo
HIV ribbon. File photo
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

HIV-positive people are kept alive and well by antiretrovirals, but they are at severe risk of cardiovascular disease, a study in Cape Town has found.

Sixty-seven patients at Crossroads Community Health Centre, with a mean age of 42 and mainly female, displayed evidence of accelerated ageing influenced by chronic inflammation.

Megan Borkum, from the nephrology and hypertension department at UCT, said the findings - the first for black South Africans - called for further investigation.

In the meantime, it would be "crucial to intensively screen for and address cardiovascular risk factors in HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy".

Borkum led a team from UCT and Groote Schuur Hospital that tested patients who had been on ARVs for more than seven years. Two-thirds were overweight and 76% had an increased waist circumference.

Crucially, almost 70% of the patients were found to be at high risk of high blood pressure, cardiac arrest, heart failure and stroke.