Impact of HIV and highly active antiretroviral therapy on leukocyte adhesion molecules, arterial inflammation, dyslipidemia, and atherosclerosis

Stacy D. Fisher, Tracie L. Miller, Steven E. Lipshultz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has greatly extended the lives of people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This reduced risk of early death from opportunistic infections or other sequelae of HIV infection, however, means that other possible causes of death emerge. Myocardial infarction has become a matter of particular concern. Two of the main sources of cardiovascular disease in this population are believed to be vascular inflammation and dyslipidemia. We review the evidence for this hypothesis and discuss the relationship of HIV to vascular inflammation. Current treatment guidelines do not recommend the immediate initiation of HAART unless warranted, potentially allowing long-term, unchecked viral impact on the development of atherosclerosis. Finally, we consider the protease inhibitors traditionally included in HAART regimens and their relationship to the development of dyslipidemia, as well as other classes of antiretrovirals, such as the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, which might be a better choice for patients with cardiovascular risks. Other strategies, such as pharmacologic, nutritional, and physical activity interventions are discussed. The patients who might benefit most are those in whom the precursors of vascular plaques, such as fatty streak, smooth muscle cell, macrophage, and T-lymphocyte aggregation not yet identified by echocardiographic and biopsy findings have already developed as a result of unchecked viral inflammation and replication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherogenesis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Highly active antiretroviral therapy
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
  • Protease inhibitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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