Higher cardiovascular disease risks in people living with HIV: A systematic review and meta-analysis



The prognosis of AIDS after active antiretroviral therapy (ART) and the quality of life of people living with HIV (PLWH) are both affected by non-AIDS-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the specific risk ratios between PLWH and individuals negative for HIV are poorly understood. We aimed to systematically review and investigate the CVD risk factors associated with HIV.


We searched PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases between 1 January 2015, and 12 May 2023 for articles reported the prevalence and risk factors of CVD such as hypertension, dyslipidaemia, coronary artery disease (CAD), and myocardial infarction (MI). Due to the high heterogeneity, we used a random-effects model to analyse the data. All statistical analyses were performed using Stata/MP 17.0 with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


We analysed 31 eligible studies including 312 913 PLWH. People living with HIV had higher risks of dyslipidaemia (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.53; 95% CI = 1.29, 1.82), CAD (HR = 1.37; 95% CI = 1.24, 1.51), and MI (HR = 1.47; 95% CI = 1.28, 1.68) compared to individuals without HIV. However, there were no significant differences in the prevalence of hypertension between groups (HR = 1.17; 95% CI = 0.97, 1.41). Subgroup analysis revealed that men with HIV, PLWH who smoked and the elderly PLWH had a high prevalence of CVD. Moreover, the disease prevalence patterns varied among regions. In the USA and Europe, for instance, some HRs for CVD were higher than in other regions. Active ART initiation after 2015 appears to have a lower risk of CVD (hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, CAD). All outcomes under analysis showed significant heterogeneity (I2>70%, P < 0.001), which the available study-level variables could only partially account for.


People living with HIV had a higher CVD risk than the general population; thus, CVD prevention in PLWH requires further attention. Rapid initiation of ART may reduce the incidence of CVD in PLWH. For timely screening of CVD high-risk individuals and thorough disease management to prevent CVD, further studies are required to evaluate the risk factors for CVD among PLWH, such as age, region, etc.


Zhu S, Wang W, He J, Duan W, Ma X, Guan H, Wu Y, Li S, Li Y, Tian T, Kong W, Wu D, Zhang T, Huang X




  • 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
    • Cardiovascular


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