Characterizing blood pressure trajectories in people living with HIV following antiretroviral therapy: A systematic review


Objectives: The advent of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has reduced AIDS-related morbidity and mortality among people living with HIV (PLWH). Due to increased survival, PLWH have now been found to be at risk of chronic conditions related to ageing, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD). Hypertension is common in PLWH and is a major risk factor for the development of CVD. We conducted a systematic literature review to evaluate the research evidence on longitudinal blood pressure (BP) trajectories following ART initiation in PLWH.

Methods: We searched the following databases: PubMed, CINHAL, Scopus, and Web of Science (up to 15 March 2021) for peer-reviewed published studies that reported BP trajectories following ART initiation in PLWH. Three reviewers independently screened all studies by title and abstract. We included articles in English, published up to March 2021, that report office BP trajectories in PLWH initiating ART. A total of 10 publications met our inclusion criteria. Eight studies were prospective cohorts and two were retrospective.

Results: Nine out of 10 studies in the literature reported an increase in systolic BP (4.7–10.0 mmHg in studies with a follow-up range of 6 months to 8 years, and 3.0-4.7 mmHg/year in time-averaged studies). In addition, four out of 10 studies reported increases in diastolic BP (2.3–8.0 mmHg for a 6 month to 6.8-year follow-up range and 2.3 mmHg/year).

Conclusion: Systolic BP consistently increases while diastolic BP changes are more heterogeneous following ART initiation in PLWH. However, the studies were highly variable with respect to population demographics, ART regimen and duration, and follow-up time. Nevertheless, given the risks of CVD complications, such as stroke, heart failure and myocardial infarction, associated with elevated BP, results highlight the importance of future research in this area. It will be important to better characterize BP trajectories over time, identify the most critical times for interventions to reduce BP, determine the long-term CVD consequences in PLWH with elevated BP, and understand how different ART regimens may or may not influence BP and CVD disease.


Drago F, Soshnik-Schierling L, Cabling ML, Pattarabanjird T, Desderius B, Nyanza E, Raymond H, McNamara CA, Peck RN, Shiau S




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment
  • Co-morbidities
    • Other


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