HIV Therapy Helps Reduce Risk of Non-AIDS Illnesses

Though non-AIDS-related health complications are still common among people living with HIV, data from a Spanish cohort suggest that the incidence of these problems has dropped and that CD4 cell gains and viral load reductions associated with antiretroviral (ARV) therapy use can be credited with reducing the risk, according to a new report published online ahead of print in the journal AIDS.  In the analysis of 5,185 people living with HIV participating in the CoRIS cohort, the incidence of non-AIDS-related illnesses dropped from 35 cases per 1,000 person-years between 2004 and 2007 to 25 cases per 1,000 person-years between 2007 and 2010. This decrease was largely attributed to the use of ARV therapy; detectable viral loads, low CD4 cell counts and age were all shown to be factors associated with an increased risk of non-AIDS-related illnesses, which included psychiatric problems, liver disease, cancers (lung cancer being the most common), kidney disease and cardiovascular disease.  The positive effects of ARV therapy were most pronounced in terms of reducing the incidence and risk of of psychiatric problems and kidney disease.