Background. Persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are at risk for premature cardiovascular disease (CVD). Predictors of atherosclerotic disease progression in contemporary patients have not been well described. Methods. Using data from a prospective observational cohort of adults infected with HIV (Study to Understand the Natural History of HIV/AIDS in the Era of Effective Therapy), we assessed common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) at baseline and year 2 by ultrasound. We examined HIV-associated predictors of CIMT progression after adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, body mass index, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, and baseline CIMT using linear regression. Results. Among 389 participants (median age at baseline, 42 years; male sex, 77%; median CD4+ cell count at baseline, 485 cells/mm3; 78% receiving antiretroviral therapy), the median 2-year CIMT change was 0.016 mm (interquartile range,-0.003 to 0.033 mm; P <. 001). Lesser CIMT progression was associated with a suppressed viral load at baseline (-0.009 mm change; P =. 015) and remaining virologically suppressed throughout follow-up (-0.011 mm change; P <. 001). After adjusting for additional risk factors and a suppressed viral load during follow-up, nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor versus protease inhibitor exposure was associated with lesser CIMT progression (-0.011 mm change; P =. 02). Conclusions. Suppressing HIV replication below clinical thresholds was associated with less progression of atherosclerosis. The proatherogenic mechanisms of HIV replication and the net CVD benefit of different antiretroviral drugs should be a focus of future research.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Financial support. This work was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (contracts 200-2002-00610/00611/00612/00613 and 200-2007-3633/23634/23635/23636) and the National Institutes of Health (K12 RR023247).
Potential conflicts of interest. J. V. B. has received research support from Gilead, ViiV, and Tibotec. K. H. has received research support from Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Gilead, ViiV, and Tibotec. M. B. serves on speakers Bureau for General Electric. All other authors report no potential conflicts.