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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Jun 26, 2000

Is there any connection with being HIV+ and cholesterol? My latest cholesterol test was 237 (LDL). I've been HIV+ since 1981, I weigh 175, 5'11", 38-years old. I've never had full-blown AIDS nor have gotten sick. Can someone have high cholesterol and NOT be fat? Thanks for your respond.

Response from Dr. Henry

You don't mention whether you are currently or have ever been on anti-HIV therapy. Ordinarily HIV infections and AIDS per se usually lead to a low cholesterol particularly the HDL (so-called good cholesterol) fraction. An LDL level of 237 is high and puts a person at increased risk for heart disease particularly if combined with a family history, cigarette use, lack of exercise, diabetes, or a high triglyceride level. Some of the HIV drugs have been linked to increases in the cholesterol and triglyceride levels. You definitely can have high cholesterol (In fact -- die of a heart attack) without being fat just like someone could get sick from HIV/AIDS without previously looking like they were sick. Your HIV doc would be a good person to further discuss the implications of the high cholesterol in the setting of your HIV infection. Keith Henry, M.D.

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