The treatment of metabolic disease is becoming an increasingly important component of the long-term management of patients with well controlled HIV on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Metabolic diseases probably develop at the intersection of traditional risk factors (such as obesity, tobacco use, and genetic predisposition) and HIV-specific and ART-specific contributors (including chronic inflammation and immune activation). This Review discusses present knowledge on adipose tissue dysfunction, insulin-glucose homoeostasis, lipid disturbances, and cardiovascular disease risk in people with HIV on ART. Although new antiretroviral drugs are believed to induce fewer short-term metabolic perturbations than do older drugs, the long-term effects of these drugs are not fully understood. Additionally, patients remain at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other metabolic comorbidities. Research and treatment should focus on selection of ART that is both virologically effective and has minimum metabolic effects, minimisation of traditional risk factors for metabolic disease, and development of novel therapies to treat metabolic disease in patients with HIV, including use of anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory drugs.
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