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A positive HIV test may indicate more than just impaired immune system function. A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has shown that the infection may also be a risk factor for heart failure.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh analyzed the medical records of 8,486 veterans, some whom were infected with HIV, for a period of more than seven years. The results showed that, while heart failure rates among HIV-negative individuals were 4.8 percent, rates among infected individuals were 7.1 percent
The researchers said that HIV-positive participants were also more likely to report a co-occurring hepatitis C infection, cocaine addiction and cigarette smoking, all of which can increase a person's risk of heart failure. Additionally, certain antiretroviral drugs have been shown connected to heart failure. This may explain the higher rates among infected individuals.
The findings could help healthcare providers identify individuals who are at the most likely to suffer from heart failure and to counsel these individuals on steps they can take to minimize their risk.
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