Narrator: This is Science Today. In the last decade, antiretroviral medication has helped HIV-infected patients live much longer, but this increase in lifespan offers more opportunity to develop chronic illnesses. Priscilla Hsue, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco says HIV-infected patients are at higher risk of having a thicker carotid artery, which is a strong predictor of heart attack and stroke.
Hsue: So I think from HIV doctors and primary care providers, they need to realize that their patients can be at risk for developing myocardial infarction and other types of vascular disease and they need to aggressively address all the risk factors that they can.
Narrator: Hsue has been studying if antiretroviral medications enhance the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Hsue: In my study, most of the patients had been on antiretroviral medication for really only about three years, which is not a very long time and so it's possible in six years we'll see, oh, there was a direct link. We need to follow them for a longer period of time.
For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.