HIV infection and aortic stiffness


People living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and receiving antiretroviral therapy now have the same life expectancy as the general population. However, they have a higher risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular events because of a complex and polyfactorial vasculopathy, combining the effects of antiretroviral therapy, the HIV virus itself, immune activation, chronic inflammation and metabolic disturbances. Whether people living with HIV infection experience increased vascular aging compared with the general population remains controversial. To summarize current knowledge of the association between HIV infection and aortic stiffness as a marker of vascular aging. This review included 18 clinical studies in adult populations, published between 2009 and 2016, and identified on PubMed/MEDLINE or other databases. Search terms were aortic stiffness, arterial stiffness, vascular aging, pulse wave velocity and HIV. All 18 studies were observational, and compared groups infected (HIV+) and not infected (HIV-) with HIV. Ten studies (55%) reported no significant differences in aortic stiffness between HIV+ groups and age-matched HIV- control groups. The main reported determinants of aortic stiffness were age, blood pressure, smoking, metabolic syndrome and HIV-related variables, including CD4/CD8 ratio, current T-CD4 count < 200/mm3 and nadir T-CD4+ count < 200/mm3. We found discordant results regarding whether HIV+ patients had increased aortic stiffness compared with HIV- controls. However, HIV-related conditions were associated with vascular health. This association has been confirmed in recent prospective studies. There is emerging evidence that HIV itself and immune activity affect vascular health and the large arteries


Leite LHM, Cohen A, Boccara F




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment
  • Co-morbidities
    • Cardiovascular


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