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While a positive HIV test is no longer the death sentence it once was, there are still many risks that come along with infection. For example, a team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego recently found that the rate of stroke in HIV patients skyrocketed in recent years, even while the rate of stroke decreased in the general population.
After reviewing national medical data collected over the decade from 1997 to 2006, researchers found that the rate of stroke among HIV patients increased 60 percent. During this time, the number of strokes in the general population fell by 7 percent.
The researchers said in their report that powerful antiretroviral medications have significantly prolonged the life of HIV sufferers in recent years. However, these same medications may be the cause of the increased stroke risk. Either way, they said that further public health efforts are needed to address this worsening situation.
"Over the last decade in the United States, there has been a substantial and significant rise in patients hospitalized for stroke with coexisting HIV infection," they concluded. "This has important public health and socioeconomic consequences."
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