The association between HIV and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review

Journal Article


Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

BioMed Central


University of Cape Town

ackground: Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has confronted decades of the HIV epidemic with substantial improvements in access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART). Now, with improved survival, people living with HIV (PLWH) are at increased risk for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD). We assessed the existing literature regarding the association of CVD outcomes and HIV in SSA. Methods: We used the PRISMA guidelines to perform a systematic review of the published literature regarding the association of CVD and HIV in SSA with a focus on CVD surrogate and clinical outcomes in PLWH. Results: From January 2000 until March 2017, 31 articles were published regarding CVD outcomes among PLWH in SSA. Data from surrogate CVD outcomes (n = 13) suggest an increased risk of CVD events among PLWH in SSA. Although acute coronary syndrome is reported infrequently in SSA among PLWH, limited data from five studies suggest extensive thrombus and hypercoagulability as contributing factors. Additional studies suggest an increased risk of stroke among PLWH (n = 13); however, most data are from immunosuppressed ART-naïve PLWH and thus are potentially confounded by the possibility of central nervous system infections. Conclusions: Given ongoing gaps in our current understanding of CVD and other NCDs in PLWH in SSA, it is imperative to ascertain the burden of CVD outcomes, and to examine strategies for intervention and best practices to enhance the health of this vulnerable population.