HIV infection raises risk of additional health problems

People living with HIV are more likely to develop certain other health conditions over the course of their lives. A comprehensive international analysis of more than 3,000 studies on the subject of HIV, in which MedUni Vienna participated, has identified several outcomes as being HIV-related, eight of these being clearly attributable to infection with the pathogen that causes AIDS: COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), dyspnoea, cough, anemia, maternal sepsis, pregnancy-related mortality, as well as bone fractures and ischaemic heart disease.

An international study group including MedUni Vienna has conducted a so-called umbrella review. This relatively new statistical tool is an analysis of meta-analyses representing the highest level of evidence. The umbrella review analyzed the results of 20 meta-analyses, which in turn include a total of 3,200 studies on the subject of health outcomes associated with HIV. The results were published in the specialist journal "Clinical Infectious Diseases".

While the meta-analyses identified a total of 55 outcomes that are associated with HIV infection, the superordinate umbrella review identified 37 of these health outcomes as having significant associations and 8 of them a having suggestive and highly suggestive evidence of associations with HIV. These are COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), dyspnoea, cough, anemia, maternal sepsis, pregnancy -related mortality, as well as bone fractures and ischaemic heart disease.

People living with HIV have a significantly higher risk of suffering from these diseases or symptoms during the course of their lives."

Lead author Igor Grabovac, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, MedUni Vienna

The study was a collaboration between MedUni Vienna and researchers from Austria, Italy, Spain, Canada and the UK.

In Austria, around 98% of people living with HIV have their condition managed by drugs. Despite their good life expectancy, they have more chronic diseases than people without HIV. "Further research is needed to find out why people living with HIV also have additional health problems," explains Igor Grabovac, "possible reasons are the side-effects of the drugs, lifestyle factors or the virus itself, which causes faster cell aging due to chronic infection within the body."

The results of this study offer interesting new hypotheses for further clinical studies and basic research and provide treating doctors with a list of the health risks facing HIV patients.

Journal reference:

Grabovac, I. et al. (2019) Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection and Diverse Physical Health Outcomes: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses of Observational Studies. Clinical Infectious Diseases.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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