Q&A: HIV Related Illness

Q: What are the top three potential health conditions that people living longer with HIV have to be aware of?


 A: The three major health problems in patients with HIV disease as they live longer lives are cardiovascular disease, neoplastic disease (cancers) and liver disease. There is some overlap between cancer and liver disease since viral hepatitis (liver infection) can lead to liver cancer.

I discussed cardiovascular disease in an earlier article (Reducing Cardiovascular Risks in HIV Disease: A Heart to HAART discussion) which is archived on this site. In the article, I discussed how inflammation from a chronic infection (HIV disease) can damage blood vessels and contribute to the inflammatory process of atherosclerosis. To complicate the problem, many HIV patients also have hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and smoking as contributing risk factors. Some of the HIV medicines are culprits as well, but many of the newer drugs are safer and don’t contribute to the risk for heart disease.