How does HIV affect heart health?
Over 20,000 Australians are living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Most are taking combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART). Therapy is now so effective that people who are managing their HIV infection with cART can expect a lifespan that is similar to HIV-negative people of the same age and gender. Improved survival rates for people living with HIV (PLHIV) mean that conditions related to ageing, including CVD, are emerging as health concerns.
How many people are affected?
In a recent study, about 10% of PLHIV reported CVD as a current health condition. CVD now causes more than 10% of deaths among HIV-positive people. In general, PLHIV have a higher CVD risk than HIV-negative people.
What can I do?
Making sustainable lifestyle changes to reduce your risk factors is the best way to prevent CVD or avoid worsening an existing condition.
Which risk factors are important?
- Healthy eating
- Minimise salt
- Be physically active
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Manage blood pressure and cholesterol
- Moderate alcohol intake
- Maintain your social and emotional wellbeing
Talk to your doctor or another health professional about establishing a management plan to help you stay on track.
The Heart Foundation has developed a new heart health resource for people living with HIV. This resource is available in print or can be downloaded here Cardiovascular wellness for people living with HIV.
For more information contact our Health Information Service on 1300 36 27 87 or firstname.lastname@example.org.