A study that will appear in an upcoming issue of AIDS presents data that suggests HIV positive men have a significantly higher risk of plaque accumulation in the coronary arteries than do HIV negative men. This trend is a particularly important finding since people with HIV are living longer because of HIV medications.

Ironically, many of those HIV medications have been found to increase the risk of coronary heart disease in HIV positive men. Over all, the study found the presence of coronary atherosclerosis (plaque) was higher in HIV-positive men than their HIV-negative counterparts. Fifty-nine percent of HIV-positive men had coronary atherosclerosis compared with 34.4 percent of HIV-negative men. This information means HIV specialists should be aggressive when identifying and treating other risk factors for heart disease. Some of these include elevated cholesterol and triglycerides; smoking; obesity; high blood pressure; and diabetes.

By Mark Cichocki, R.N., About.com Guide to AIDS / HIV