Upon starting their treatment, very few people with HIV develop hypertension and diabetes

Upon starting their treatment, very few people with HIV develop hypertension and diabetes

It is well known that many treatments for several diseases, in the long term, can cause side effects. When medications against HIV were first developed, in the middle of the 90’s, it was observed with concern that the side effects could include hypertension and diabetes, as well as other metabolic illnesses.

However, as new antiretroviral treatments are created, these complications have been decreasing, aside from the fact that constant attention and close monitoring of people living with HIV have allowed people to take preventive measures to avoid them.

On this subject, a study, presented in the most recent virtual conference from the Infectious Diseases Society of America,  showed that when first line antiretrovirals are used (these are, the ones indicated as a first option for recently diagnosed people, low rates of diabetes and hypertension are observed during the first three years.

Careful monitoring 

The research team reviewed two big studies which included people who took the Biktarvy®, Trivicay® and Descovy® treatments, which are three of the most widely used at the start.

As reported by the Working Group on HIV Treatments (gTt-VIH), there were no high percentages of diabetes nor hypertension during the first three years. However, it was also observed that the among of people with a normal body mass index decreased as the years went by. This is a problem since obesity has a higher probability of causing cardiovascular problems in people with HIV than in the general population.

This is why it’s important to closely follow up on data such as weight, glucose and lipid levels in people who receive antiretroviral treatment, as well as taking into account the side effects that each treatment can cause.

The study points out that the presence of hypertension and diabetes had no significant differences among people who took any of the three treatments studies.

With the data that was gathered, researchers warn that, although starting treatment does not increase the incidence of hypertension and diabetes, it could be related to weight gain, and this should be taken into account in order to be more careful with body weight when treating HIV.

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