Stroke Rate Climbing In HIV+ Persons

The LA Times reports:

While the overall stroke rate in the United States has declined in the last decade, the rate among people infected with the AIDS virus has climbed sharply, researchers reported Wednesday. Although the reason for the increase is not clear, many experts suspect that it is related to the use of protease inhibitors to control replication of the virus. While the drugs, as part of cocktails of antiretroviral medications, have proved remarkably effective in controlling the virus and prolonging patients’ lives, they have also interfered with the patients’ lipid metabolism, increasing the levels of cholesterol and lipids in patients’ blood and altering the distribution of fats in their bodies. Some experts suspect the drugs have also led to an increase in heart attacks among HIV-positive individuals, but that has not been demonstrated.

We’ve known that these drugs are life-saving- but at a price. It’s important to discuss this with your doctor if you have any concerns, and notice this:

The researchers cautioned HIV physicians to be particularly alert to symptoms that might indicate that a patient is at above-normal risk for a stroke. They noted, however, that even with the increased risk, the absolute risk of stroke was still very low, less than 0.2%.

Read the full article here.

And word of a new find in HIV’s behavior in the body is leading to greater understanding of how it works- and therefore closer to stopping it.   Article here.