African-American women are at high risk for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Women with SLE are 5 to 8 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease (CVD). The objective of this study was to characterize the prevalence of traditional CVD risk factors and the markers of sub-clinical atherosclerosis between African-American SLE cases (n=28) and controls (n=73). Significant differences were observed between SLE cases and controls in the areas of high blood pressure (68% of SLE cases, 42% of controls, p = 0.02), current smoking (18% of SLE cases, 15% of controls, p = 0.01), and average fasting glucose (85 mg/dL in SLE cases, 98 mg/dL in controls, p = 0.02). SLE cases displayed non-significantly higher HDL-c levels, lower LDL-c levels, and lower BMI. These results must be interpreted cautiously since the study sample was small and highly select. Larger studies are recommended to elucidate non-traditional mechanisms that may modulate some of the increased risk for CVD associated with SLE in women.