Rationale: Before the introduction of combination antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, patients infected with HIV had an increased prevalence of respiratory symptoms and lung function abnormalities. The prevalence and exact phenotype of pulmonary abnormalities in the current era are unknown. In addition, these abnormalities may be underdiagnosed.
Objectives: Our objective was to determine the current burden of respiratory symptoms, pulmonary function abnormalities, and associated risk factors in individuals infected with HIV.
Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of 167 participants infected with HIV who underwent pulmonary function testing.
Measurements and main results: Respiratory symptoms were present in 47.3% of participants and associated with intravenous drug use (odds ratio [OR] 3.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32-10.046; P = 0.01). Only 15% had previous pulmonary testing. Pulmonary function abnormalities were common with 64.1% of participants having diffusion impairment and 21% having irreversible airway obstruction. Diffusion impairment was independently associated with ever smoking (OR 2.46; 95% CI, 1.16-5.21; P = 0.02) and Pneumocystis pneumonia prophylaxis (OR 2.94; 95% CI, 1.10-7.86; P = 0.01), whereas irreversible airway obstruction was independently associated with pack-years smoked (OR 1.03 per pack-year; 95% CI, 1.01-1.05; P < 0.01), intravenous drug use (OR 2.87; 95% CI, 1.15-7.09; P = 0.02), and the use of ARV therapy (OR 6.22; 95% CI, 1.19-32.43; P = 0.03).
Conclusions: Respiratory symptoms and pulmonary function abnormalities remain common in individuals infected with HIV. Smoking and intravenous drug use are still important risk factors for pulmonary abnormalities, but ARV may be a novel risk factor for irreversible airway obstruction. Obstructive lung disease is likely underdiagnosed in this population.