Last month, we published an article entitled, “HIV reservoirs are discovered after antiretroviral therapy. They could be the cause of long term effects in patients”. Now JAMA – Cardiology’s open access article has reported new findings (October 19, 2020, read HERE).
The article begins by describing the increased risk of cardiovascular disease observed in people with HIV treated with effective antiretroviral therapy, even when they have an undetectable viral load. This could be related to a reservoir of HIV-infected cells that treatments cannot eliminate. The article says “To our knowledge, our study is the first to demonstrate an association between the HIV reservoir and cardiovascular disease in HIV”. It continues, “The independent association between cell-associated HIV RNA and DNA and the development of carotid plaque provides further evidence that HIV infection itself accelerates cardiovascular disease.”
The article concludes that, “These findings suggest that measurements of viral persistence in treated HIV disease are independently associated with incident carotid plaque development. The size and transcriptional activity of the HIV reservoir may be important contributors to HIV-associated atherosclerosis.”
This recent finding changes the paradigm of undetectable viral load as a sign that patients are free from HIV infection, as it appears that HIV reservoirs can persist for years. Researchers are currently studying the long-term effects.