I have read reports on the web that HIV infected are MORE likely to have heart attacks, is this true?
HIV positive people not on treatment have higher risk of cardiovascular risks due to ongoing infection, inflammation, low HDL cholesterol, and eventual opportunistic illnesses and wasting syndrome. This added risk can be reduced by bringing HIV viral load to undetectable levels. However, patients with undetectable viral load may still have higher cardiovascular risks than HIV negative healthy people if they use HIV medications that increase LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and lower kidney function. Fortunately, a recent cohort review showed decreased risks for HIV + patients not only in care but also using newer lipid friendlier HIV medications. Also, patients who exercise, keep normal body weight and avoid smoking can greatly decrease their cardiovascular risks.
Full paper of study:
Declining Relative Risk for Myocardial Infarction Among HIV-Positive Compared With HIV-Negative Individuals With Access to Car
"In conclusion, we found that the previously reported excess risk of MI among HIV-positive patients no longer exists in our setting in recent years. The reasons for the convergence in incidence rates by HIV status may include greater use of CVD-friendly antiretroviral medications, increased emphasis on CVD risk reduction in this population, and the emerging profile in the modern ART era of a highly successfully treated HIV patient population. Although encouraging, it remains plausible that underlying inflammation associated with HIV continues to contribute to subclinical disease, including accelerated atherosclerosis. Nevertheless, our findings lend support to the concept that increased MI risk for HIV patients is largely reversible with continued emphasis on primary prevention in combination with early initiation of ART to preserve immune function."