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Study shows no increased risk for heart attacks among HIV-positive patients with high CD4 cell count
Date:10/24/2013

OAKLAND, Calif., October 24, 2013 Patients who are HIV-positive and have high CD4 cell counts or have a high number of white blood cells that fight infections aren't at an increased risk for heart attacks compared to patients who are HIV-negative, according to a Kaiser Permanente study that appears in the current online issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

The study population included 22,081 HIV-positive and 230,069 demographically matched HIV-negative subjects from Kaiser Permanente Northern California (1996-2009) and Kaiser Permanente Southern California (2000-2009) health plan members. Researchers determined that individuals with lowest-recorded CD4 cell counts of 500 or more had no greater risk of a heart attack than HIV-negative subjects. A CD4 cell count below 500 cells per microliter is considered a sign of a weakened immune system.

"We found that HIV-positive patients with a history of very low CD4 cell counts of 200 or below had a 74 percent higher risk for a heart attack compared with HIV-negatives, while those who maintained a CD4 cell count of 500 or more had the same risk compared with HIV-negatives," said lead author Michael J. Silverberg, PhD, MPH, a senior research scientist with the Division of Research and director of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California HIV Registry, which includes all known cases of HIV infection within the health care system dating back to the start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

In recent years, as widespread use of more effective antiretroviral medications has resulted in an aging HIV-infected population, it has become important to document whether age-related diseases, such as heart attacks, are occurring at similar or higher rates than the general population.

HIV-positive individuals are known to have higher risk of heart attacks because they are more likely to smoke and to smoke heavily compared to the general population. In addition, some HIV the
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Contact: Rowena Sara
rsara@golinharris.com
415-318-4376
Kaiser Permanente
Source:Eurekalert

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