The metabolic and cardiovascular consequences of obesity in persons with HIV on long-term antiretroviral therapy

AIDS. 2016 Jan 2;30(1):83-91. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000893.


Objective: This study assessed the effect of obesity on metabolic and cardiovascular disease risk factors in HIV-infected adults on antiretroviral therapy with sustained virologic suppression.

Design: Observational, comparative cohort study with three group-matched arms: 35 nonobese and 35 obese HIV-infected persons on efavirenz, tenofovir and emtricitabine with plasma HIV-1 RNA less than 50 copies/ml for more than 2 years, and 30 obese HIV-uninfected controls. Patients did not have diabetes or known cardiovascular disease.

Methods: We compared glucose tolerance, serum lipids, brachial artery flow-mediated dilation, carotid intima-media thickness, and soluble inflammatory and vascular adhesion markers between nonobese and obese HIV-infected patients, and between obese HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected patients, using Wilcoxon rank-sum tests and multivariate linear regression.

Results: The cohort was 52% men and 48% nonwhite. Nonobese and obese HIV-infected patients did not differ by clinical or demographic characteristics. Obese HIV-uninfected controls were younger than obese HIV-infected patients and less likely to smoke (P < 0.03 for both). Among HIV-infected patients, obesity was associated with greater insulin release, lower insulin sensitivity, and higher serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α receptor 1 levels (P < 0.001), but similar lipid profiles, sCD14, sCD163, intercellular adhesion molecule 1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, and carotid intima-media thickness and flow mediated dilation. In contrast, Obese HIV-infected patients had adverse lipid changes, and greater circulating intercellular adhesion molecule 1, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 and sCD14, compared with obese HIV-uninfected controls after adjusting for age and other factors.

Conclusion: Obesity impairs glucose metabolism and contributes to circulating high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α receptor 1 levels, but has few additive effects on dyslipidemia and endothelial activation, in Obese HIV-infected adults on long-term antiretroviral therapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alkynes
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Benzoxazines / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cyclopropanes
  • Emtricitabine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Tenofovir / therapeutic use


  • Alkynes
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents
  • Benzoxazines
  • Cyclopropanes
  • Tenofovir
  • Emtricitabine
  • efavirenz