Meds for advanced HIV infection may cause heart troubles

Long-term HIV infection is linked to an increased risk of heart disease in men, a new study of Johns Hopkins researchers finds. Study participants who had more advanced HIV and had been taking highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for a long time were more likely to have plaque buildup in their heart arteries and narrowing of the arteries.

This problem is called coronary artery disease and can lead to a heart attack, as the the study authors stated. Previous research has suggested an association between HIV and heart disease, but the results have been inconclusive. Although this study added an evidence of a link between arterial plaque and long-term HIV infection and treatment, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

The researchers plan to investigate whether earlier treatment with HAART might reduce heart disease risk in people with HIV.

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine, news release, March 31, 2014