Effective combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) has enabled human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection to evolve from a generally fatal condition to a manageable chronic disease. This transition began two decades ago in high-income countries and has more recently begun in lower income, HIV endemic countries (HIV-ECs). With this transition, there has been a concurrent shift in clinical and public health burden from AIDS-related complications and opportunistic infections to those associated with well-controlled HIV disease, including cardiovascular disease (CVD). In the current treatment era, traditional CVD risk factors and HIV-related factors both contribute to an elevated risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, heart failure, and arrhythmias. In HIV-ECs, the high prevalence of persons living with HIV and growing prevalence of CVD risk factors will contribute to a growing epidemic of HIV-associated CVD. In this review, we discuss the epidemiology and pathophysiology of cardiovascular complications of HIV and the resultant implications for public health efforts in HIV-ECs.
Keywords: Cardiovascular epidemiology; Global health; HIV; Health disparities; Human immunodeficiency virus; Risk factors.