American Heart Association: The Link Between HIV & High Blood Pressure

HIV positive individuals face a range of emotions and symptoms that come with the condition. To add to the list of ailments, a new review of research shows people with HIV are more likely than people without the virus to have high blood pressure, in part because of treatments and repercussions of the condition itself.

Learning more about the underlying mechanisms of high blood pressure in people with HIV is critical in preventing one of the leading conditions that can cause premature cardiovascular disease in those adults, the researchers said. The implications are important in a population that has seen the rate of people dying from heart disease and stroke skyrocket over the last decade.

“I think that we really need to pay special attention to this population,” said Dr. Sasha Fahme, the study’s lead author and a global health research fellow at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. “Now that people [with HIV] are living longer, we are seeing the non-infectious consequences of HIV, and hypertension [high blood pressure] is one of them.”

In the Weill Cornell Medicine-led research review, published in the American Heart Association Journal Hypertension, Fahme and her colleagues included 24 medical articles published between 2005 and 2017 that looked at high blood pressure among adults with HIV and those who didn’t have the virus. The study populations included the United States, Brazil, China, Italy, Tanzania and other countries.

The analysis centered on vascular inflammation, intestinal problems, high cholesterol, HIV-related kidney disease and