Carotid Intima Media Thickness in Mainly Female HIV-Infected Subjects in Rural South Africa: Association With Cardiovascular but Not HIV-Related Factors.Clin Infect Dis 2015; 61(10):1606-14CI
In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has increased immensely. In parallel, rates of noncommunicable diseases, especially cardiovascular disease, are rising rapidly in resource-limited settings. This study aims to evaluate the relation between subclinical atherosclerosis and HIV-related and traditional cardiovascular risk factors in HIV-infected patients in rural South Africa.
A cross-sectional study was performed among HIV-infected patients visiting a health center in Limpopo, South Africa. Demographic and HIV-related information was collected, and cardiovascular risk was assessed. Carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) was measured and the prevalence of subclinical atherosclerosis (CIMT >0.78 mm) was calculated. The association between cardiovascular or HIV-related determinants with CIMT was analyzed using linear and logistic regression models adjusted for age and sex.
The median CIMT in 866 subjects (median age [interquartile range], 41 [35-48] years; 69% female) was 0.589 mm (interquartile range, 0.524-0.678 mm), and values seemed higher than in healthy Western reference populations. In fact 12% of subjects (106 of 866) had subclinical atherosclerosis. Hypertension, high body mass index, previous cardiovascular event, diabetes mellitus, total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, estimated glomerular filtration rate, metabolic syndrome, and the Framingham Heart Risk score were independently associated with CIMT. No HIV-related determinants were associated with CIMT.
In a predominantly female HIV-infected population in South Africa, CIMT values are considerably high and associated with cardiovascular risk factors, rather than HIV-related factors. This finding emphasizes the need to screen for cardiovascular disease among persons with HIV infection in resource-limited settings. Ideally, this screening would be integrated into care for chronic HIV infection, posing a major challenge for the future.