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Keywords:

  • antiretroviral therapy;
  • blood pressure;
  • epidemiology;
  • HAART;
  • HIV

Objective

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and concerns have been raised over its possible association with antiretroviral drugs. The objective of this study was to explore the associations among blood pressure, HIV status and two predefined highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) regimens: treatment with and without nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) (NNRTI- and non-NNRTI-based HAART).

Method

A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 612 adults attending the Sexual Health Outpatient Department at St Mary's NHS Hospital Trust, London.

Results

HIV-infected patients treated with NNRTIs had a blood pressure that was 4.6/4.2 mmHg higher than those who were HIV positive but treatment naïve. The diastolic difference remained statistically significant after adjusting for potential confounders of this association (2.4 mmHg; P=0.03). There was no difference in blood pressure between those treated with non-NNRTI-based regimens and those who were HIV positive but treatment naïve.

Conclusion

NNRTIs may be associated with an increase in blood pressure. Pending further more robust evidence from randomized clinical trials it would be prudent for clinicians to monitor blood pressure in all HIV-infected patients, particularly after initiating treatment with NNRTIs, and to commence antihypertensive therapy whenever appropriate.