HIV infection is known to be associated with cardiometabolic abnormalities; here we investigated the progression and causes of these abnormalities. Three groups of participants were recruited: HIV-negative subjects and two groups of treatment-naïve HIV-positive subjects, one group initiating antiretroviral treatment, the other remaining untreated. Intima-media thickness (cIMT) increased in HIV-positive untreated group compared to HIV-negative group, but treatment mitigated the difference. We found no increase in diabetes-related metabolic markers or in the level of inflammation in any of the groups. Total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol and apoB levels were lower in HIV-positive groups, while triglyceride and Lp(a) levels did not differ between the groups. We found a statistically significant negative association between viral load and plasma levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, apoA-I and apoB. HIV-positive patients had hypoalphalipoproteinemia at baseline, and we found a redistribution of sub-populations of high density lipoprotein (HDL) particles with increased proportion of smaller HDL in HIV-positive untreated patients, which may result from increased levels of plasma cholesteryl ester transfer protein in this group. HDL functionality declined in the HIV-negative and HIV-positive untreated groups, but not in HIV-positive treated group. We also found differences between HIV-positive and negative groups in plasma abundance of several microRNAs involved in lipid metabolism. Our data support a hypothesis that cardiometabolic abnormalities in HIV infection are caused by HIV and that antiretroviral treatment itself does not influence key cardiometabolic parameters, but mitigates those affected by HIV.