HIV-Associated Complications: A Systems-Based Approach

Am Fam Physician. 2017 Aug 1;96(3):161-169.


Persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection often develop complications related directly to the infection, as well as to treatment. Aging, lifestyle factors, and comorbidities increase the risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney disease. HIV-associated neurologic complications encompass a wide spectrum of pathophysiology and symptomatology. Cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions are common among persons with HIV infection. Although some specific antiretroviral medications have been linked to disease development, traditional risk factors (e.g., smoking) have major roles. Prevention and management of viral hepatitis coinfection are important to reduce morbidity and mortality, and new anti-hepatitis C agents produce high rates of sustained virologic response. Antiretroviral-associated metabolic complications include dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia, and loss of bone mineral density. Newer options generally pose less risk of significant systemic toxicity and are better tolerated. Family physicians who care for patients with HIV infection have a key role in identifying and managing many of these chronic complications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Dementia Complex / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • HIV Enteropathy / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology