Study findings showed that traditional risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension and chronic hepatitis C virus infection “contribute greatly” to disease in adults living with HIV, and eliminating them is “essential” to the health of these patients, researchers reported in The Lancet HIV.
“Addressing and preventing traditional risk factors for severe age-related diseases can greatly reduce the burden of such diseases in adults with HIV,” Keri N. Althoff, PhD, MPH, associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Infectious Disease News. “Knowing how to best preserve the health of adults living with HIV is important because HIV is a chronic condition if treatment is accessible.”
For their study, Althoff and colleagues included more than 60,000 adults receiving HIV care in the United States and Canada who were enrolled in the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design between Jan. 1, 2000, and Dec. 31, 2014. They investigated tobacco smoking, hypertension, elevated total cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, renal impairment and HCV and HBV virus infections in relation to non-AIDS-defining cancer, myocardial infarction (MI), end-stage renal disease and end-stage liver disease — four conditions that adults with HIV have a higher burden of than adults without HIV.
According to the study, 24% of cancers and 37% of MIs among adults with HIV could be avoided by eliminating cigarette smoking. An additional 44% of MIs could be avoided by reducing total cholesterol and 42% could be avoided by reducing hypertension. Althoff and colleagues also found that reducing hypertension would prevent 39% of end-stage renal disease diagnoses and eliminating HCV infection would avoid 33% of end-stage liver disease diagnoses.
Eliminating traditional risk factors for disease like smoking is ‘essential’ to the health of patients with HIV, researchers said.
Althoff and colleagues said the findings “[elevate] the importance of screening for these risk factors.”
“We hope the findings help clinicians, policy and program decision-makers determine which risk factors to address and re-address when caring for adults with HIV so that they can not only live long lives, but live long lives in good health.” – by Caitlyn Stulpin
Disclosures: Althoff reports grants from the NIH during the conduct of the study and personal fees from Trio Health outside of the submitted work. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.