February is heart health month, a perfect time to focus our attention on an important area of concern in the HIV community: cardiovascular health.
People living with HIV who are on treatment and maintain viral suppression can expect to live a near-normal lifespan. However, even while taking antiretroviral therapy (ART), people living with HIV are up to twice as likely to experience heart disease (including heart attack and strokes) compared to those who do not have HIV.
There are several things you can do to reduce your risk for heart disease, including:
- Quitting smoking (or never starting!)
- Maintaining a healthy, low fat diet
- Exercising regularly
- Seeing your health care provider regularly
In addition, NIH has started a large-scale clinical trial that is exploring the use of a statin drug to lower the risk of heart disease in women and men living with HIV. Known as the REPRIEVE (Randomized Trial to Prevent Vascular Events in HIV) trial, the study is enrolling volunteers nationally and internationally. Learn about the REPRIEVE Trial and how you can get involved .
Want to learn more? Watch this recent video of Dr. Carl Dieffenbach talking heart health with some REPRIEVE trial participants in Seattle.
Additional Resources: Learn More about Heart Health and People Living with HIV
Several federal agencies provide information resources about cardiovascular health for different audiences. Learn more and share the following:
- HIV.gov’s HIV Basics: Cardiovascular Health and HIV
- CDC: Heart Disease