HIV Patients Are At High Risks of Stroke


The incidence of stroke continues to increase in people with HIV. Experts suspect anti-viral drugs consumed by people living with HIV lead to stroke risk.

No direct link between HIV treatment to the case of stroke have been found, but the tendency of people living with HIV to suffer a stroke leads to the notion that HIV medications make cholesterol and triglyceride levels to rise. Both of them are types of blood fat that is a risk factor for stroke.

“Until definitive evidence is known, the results of this study could be a warning for physicians to be aware of stroke risk factors in HIV patients,” said Dr.Bruce Ovbiagle, neuroscience experts from the University of California, San Diego, according to Healthday news.

In a study published in the journal Neurology, Ovbiagle and his team analyzed the data of people hospitalized because of stroke since 1997, when the first generation of HIV drugs came into use, until 2006.

It is known that although generally the hospitalization rate due to stroke declined by 7 percent, the rate of people living with HIV who were treated for stroke increased by 60 percent in 2006.

Researchers also examined the two types of stroke, ischemic and hemorrhagic. No change in percentage of hemorrhagic stroke in patients who are HIV positive, but their numbers rise from 0.08 percent to 0.18 percent, twice from the HIV patients who have ischemic stroke.

“Drugs used in HIV therapy are known to affect metabolic complications, including increased abdominal fat and increased triglyceride serums. Both are risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” said Ovbiagele.

Indeed, people living with HIV can live longer and stroke in old age where most people are affected by stroke. But from this study, it is revealed that people living with HIV suffer from stroke at an earlier age than the general population.

Nevertheless,  researchers emphasized that stroke is a preventable disease, one way is by preventing obesity and maintaining a safe amount of cholesterol and preventing hypertension.