The Epidemic

Take Your Statins

Studies have shown that HIV-positive people are more likely to suffer a heart attack.

BY VICTOR MELAMED

A new report published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes shows a majority of HIV-positive people at high risk for heart disease are not on statins, a lipid-lowering medication that’s been found to reduce heart disease particularly in the early stages, reports The Advocate’s David Artavia.

Researchers in Chicago found that only one-third of people who were eligible to be on statin therapy were using it for preventative measures.

Needless to say, writes Artavia, these results are frightening, especially since studies have shown that HIV-positive people are more likely to suffer a heart attack. Even if one’s viral load is undetectable, HIV-positive are still at risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of both men and women, killing 25 percent of Americans every year. But for poz people, that risk is four to six times higher.

In fact, HIV poses the same risk of heart disease as diabetes. Findings published in the journal <<<Clinical Infectious Diseases>>> show that the increased inflammation one gets from having HIV creates metabolic changes. And as a result, people are likely to have low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, which contribute to heart disease.

“Available evidence strongly supports statin use in HIV+ patients,” the researchers state. “HIV-positive persons are exceptionally vulnerable to [heart disease] compared to the general population due to an increased burden of high-risk, non-calcified plaque and higher prevalence of [heart disease] risk factors,” authors from the Chicago study wrote.

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