Background :

The introduction and widespread use of combination antiretroviral therapy referred to as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in the mid 1990’s, has led HIV-infected individuals to experience a dramatic decline in immunodeficiency-related events and death. There is growing concern on metabolic complications associated with HIV and HAART which may increase cardiovascular risk and disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the cardiovascular risk profile of HIV/AIDS patients receiving HAART and those not receiving HAART at HIV/AIDS treatment centres in the South West Region of Cameroon.

Methods :

Consenting participants, who had been receiving HAART, were compared with HAART naive participants. A questionnaire was administered; anthropometric and blood pressure measurements were recorded under standard conditions. Blood samples were obtained for the determination of plasma glucose and lipid levels.

Results :

Two hundred and fifteen participants were recruited, 160 (74.4%) were on HAART and 55 (25.6%) were HAART naive. Among the individual lipid abnormalities, increased total cholesterol was the most prevalent (40.0%). Participants on HAART were significantly about 8 times at risk of developing hypercholesterolemia when compared to the HAART inexperienced group (OR 8.17; 95% CI: 3.31-20.14; p<0.001). Hypertension had a prevalence of 25.6% (95% CI: 15.3%-35.9%) and was about 2 times significantly higher in the HAART treated than the HAART untreated group (p=0.033). The prevalence of low HDL-c was significantly higher in males (24.1%) compared to females (11.2%) (p=0.0196). Many females (27.3%) were obese compared to males (7.4%) (p=0.0043). HAART use and treatment duration of more than five years were significantly associated with higher prevalence of CVD risk factors.

Conclusion :

HAART treatment was associated with significantly higher prevalence of hypercholesterolemia, increased LDL-c and hypertension, hence the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Keywords: AIDS, Cardiovascular, Cameroon, dyslipidemia, HAART, HIV.
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