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Risk of serious cardiovascular disease in people living with HIV increases after having Covid-19

Risk of serious cardiovascular disease in people living with HIV increases after having Covid-19

Since the advent of antiretroviral therapy in 1996, HIV-related morbidity and mortality have declined dramatically, and today, people with HIV who are diagnosed in time and begin appropriate treatment have a life expectancy similar to that of the general population. However, improved survival has resulted in an increased burden of age-related noninfectious comorbidities, such as cardiovascular disease, which is estimated to be 1.5 to 2 times more prevalent than in case of the general population.

Impact of Covid-19 on people with HIV

Acute Covid-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, emerged in late 2019 and has caused more than 450 million infections worldwide. Several studies have linked Covid-19 infection with an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes in the general population, both in the acute phase and after recovery from the infection. However, the effect of Covid-19 on cardiovascular disease among people with HIV has not yet been explored.

International research with a Catalan presence

An international team of researchers with the presence of the Fight Infections Foundation, the Center for Epidemiological Studies on STIs and AIDS in Catalonia (CEEISCAT) and the Odense University Hospital (OUH) in Denmark verified that the population with HIV who had experienced Covid-19 had a higher risk of suffering from a serious cardiovascular disease such as thromboembolism or heart failure, among others, in the year following having suffered from Covid-19, especially during the first six months. The research, which has been published in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection Diseases, includes approximately 18,000 people with HIV, of whom 14,000 had not previously been diagnosed with Covid-19, while 4,199 had. In total, 832 suffered a cardiovascular disease in the year following Covid-19 or in the same period in the control group. The researchers found that people who had been infected with SARS-CoV2 had a 30% higher chance of developing serious cardiovascular disease in the year after infection.

Dr. Josep M. Llibre, researcher at the Fight Ingections Foundation who coordinated the study and doctor at Germans Trias Hospital, comments that this increase in the chances that people with HIV have of suffering a serious cardiovascular disease after having passed Covid-19 takes on great relevance, as doctors must consider this post-Covid-19 period as a period of greater risk to see cardiovascular episodes in people with HIV. The most frequent have been thromboembolic disease, heart failure and various heart diseases.

Preventive treatment

These findings have important clinical implications, highlighting the importance of immunization against Covid-19 in the population with HIV as a preventive method of suffering from cardiovascular disease. Llibre adds that as a preventive method it is important that people living with HIV get vaccinated against Covid-19. At the same time, the researcher points out that if the infection has passed, it should be essential to be aware of this increased risk and try to control other factors that can enhance cardiovascular disease such as smoking, diabetes, hypertension or cholesterol high.


In conclusion, in the first year after the passing of Covid-19, the research team determined that patients with HIV had a 30% greater chance of suffering from cardiovascular disease. This higher risk was also confirmed in the case of people with HIV with Covid-19 who had not previously suffered from any cardiovascular disease, and in those who had not required hospital admission. Therefore, Covid-19 must be considered an additional risk in the case of people with HIV, highlighting the importance of prevention through vaccination, and the urgent need to take advantage of preventive interventions during this period.

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