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HIV Patients May Have Stiffer Arteries

But not significant enough to halt drug therapy, researchers say

FRIDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- HIV patients receiving highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) are more likely to have a level of arterial stiffness similar to that in healthy patients with high blood pressure, a new study finds.

Arterial stiffness increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with high blood pressure.

The study provides new insight into the link between HIV infection, HAART use and the premature development of cardiovascular disease in HIV-infected patients, even when they have normal blood pressure.

However, the effects may not be severe enough to halt treatment, and the study didn't establish that HAART causes the stiffness, noted the researchers, from the University of Athens in Greece. The study appears online June 25 in the American Journal of Hypertension.

Previous studies have found that HIV patients treated with HAART had a higher level of arterial stiffness than HIV patients who weren't treated with HAART.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about HIV/AIDS treatments.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Journal of Hypertension, news release, June 25, 2009

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