ARLINGTON, Va. — Antiretroviral drugs have allowed people with HIV to live normal life spans, but because of this, they also are susceptible to many new health complications, according to care guidelines released Thursday by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
The IDSA's HIV Medicine Association said that people with HIV have an increased risk for such common health conditions as high cholesterol and triglycerides, which can result from the infection itself, antiretroviral drug treatment or traditional risk factors like smoking and unhealthy diets. The longer lifespans of HIV patients, with an estimated 80% of patients having the virus under control, mean doctors should be more vigilant, according to the group.
"This means that HIV specialists need to provide the full spectrum of primary care to these patients, and primary care physicians need a better grasp of the impact HIV care has on routine health care," lead author of the guidelines and New York University researcher Judith Aberg said. "Doctors need to tell their HIV-infected patients, 'Your HIV disease is controlled, and we need to think about the rest of you.' As with primary care in general, it's about prevention."
In particular, the guidelines include new recommendations for screening for diabetes, osteoporosis, colon cancer and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as vaccinations against pneumococcal infection, influenza, varicella and hepatitis A and B. They also include information outlining interactions between specific antiretrovirals and cholesterol-lowering statins.