By Imogen Robinson
People with both HIV and risk factors for heart disease and stroke are less likely to be treated than patients without HIV a US study has revealed.
Statins and aspirin are often recommended to reduce the risk of heart disease, but those with HIV who would be candidates are overlooked when it comes to prescriptions.
Cardiovascular disease is becoming one of the major causes of death among those with HIV, as those with HIV-positive people are now living longer thanks to availability of anti-AIDS drugs.
More than 25% of the 1.2 million people in the US with HIV are now aged 55 or older, and those with HIV face a 50-100% increased risk of heart disease and stroke compared to HIV-negative people.
Scientists looked at data from HIV positive and HIV negative patients aged between 40 and 79 years between the years of 2006 and 2013.
The proportion of HIV-infected versus HIV-uninfected adults with aspirin or antiplatelet therapy when they met guideline-recommended guidelines for primary prevention, or had cardiovascular disease, was 5.1% versus 13.8%.
Differences between those receiving antihypertensive therapy, diet and exercise counselling, or smoking cessation therapy were markedly smaller.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
The scientists came to the conclusion that physicians generally underused guideline-recommended cardiovascular care and were less like to prescribe aspirin and statins to HIV-infected patients at increased risk.
These findings “may partially explain higher rates of adverse cardiovascular events among patients with HIV”, the study stated.
The scientists advised: “US policymakers and professional societies should focus on improving the quality of cardiovascular care that HIV-infected patients receive.”