The National Heart Foundation of Australia is releasing today a new resource on cardiovascular health for people with HIV. The move follows the publication of a nine-year study of nearly 3,000 US patients, which found that those with HIV were more than four times as likely to die of a sudden heart attack compared to the general population.
HIV infection itself, the antiretroviral therapy that has extended HIV patients’ lives, and typical cardiovascular risk factors could be causes for the higher risk, said Professor Anthony Dart, director of cardiovascular medicine at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Some 42 percent of Australians with HIV smoke, compared with 17 percent of the general population, the Heart Foundation said.
“Cigarette smoking is much higher in HIV-positive subjects than others; obesity is more common and there’s some suggestion of an increased risk from the treatment of HIV,” said Dart, who chairs a foundation working group on cardiovascular disease and HIV.
“The first important thing is to make people aware that this is a condition from which they are more liable to suffer,” Dart said. “Therefore, there’s a very big advantage to them to doing all the things they can do to reduce their risk.”
“We want to ensure there is adequate support and education provided about risk factors for heart disease,” said Dr. Lyn Roberts, the foundation’s CEO.
[PNU editor’s note: To access the resource, visit: http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/Pages/hiv.aspx.]
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