HIV-infected patients are thought to be an at-risk group for elevated rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD), yet it is not known whether traditional cardiovascular preventative guidelines are applicable to this group. Specifically, it has not been determined whether treatment with statins reduces risk of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) for HIV-infected patients and whether criteria for statin use should be determined based on the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP ATPIII) guidelines for management of dyslipidemia, which were developed for use in general populations. Data indicate that the mechanism of CVD in HIV populations may differ from the general population and may be driven in large part by HIV-associated inflammatory and immunologic changes, suggesting that strategies for cardiovascular prevention may differ as well. In the proposed study, we will assess the applicability of the NCEP ATPIII guidelines to HIV populations.
Aim 1 will involve ascertaining whether statins are prescribed according to criteria for use, determining rates of statin use in HIV and matched control patients according to whether patients had attained their LDL goal prior to statin initiation.
In Aim 2, we will investigate the association o statin therapy with incident AMI among HIV-infected patients, answering the question of whether AMI risk reduction with statins differs based on whether patients had met criteria for statin use prior to drug initiation. The finding we anticipate - that statins reduce cardiovascular risk even n HIV-infected patients who do not meet conventional criteria for use - would indicate that HIV-infected patients merit different and tailored criteria for statin use. The research design will harness the power of a large health care system-based data registry with infrastructure already tailored to assess specific CVD-related and HIV-related variables in HIV and matched control patients, thereby offering an innovative and efficient approach to answer the research questions. Advanced analytic techniques, including natural language processing tools and propensity score analysis, will be employed to enable the most rigorous observational data study. Moreover, the anticipated update of the NCEP guidelines provides a potential opportunity to assess our study hypotheses using the most up-to date recommendations for the general population. The proposed study will leverage existing data to advance the field of cardiovascular epidemiology and prevention in an at-risk subgroup, answering the following key and previously unanswered question: Should HIV providers prescribe statins to patients using the same criteria as for the general population? As the first study assessing cardiovascular risk reduction with statins among HIV-infected patients, the data will fill a critical knowledge gap, providing knowledge on the applicability of standard cardiovascular preventative guidelines for HIV populations and impacting the development of HIV-specific criteria for statin use through clinical trials. The findings will have broad relevance to both HIV clinical care paradigms and to cardiovascular risk reduction for at-risk populations with novel risk factors for CVD.

Public Health Relevance

HIV-infected patients are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, but optimal preventative strategies are unknown. Specifically, it is not known whether current guidelines used to the general population are applicable to HIV-infected patients with respect to criteria to use statins, widely used lipid-lowering medications which have been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease in the general population. The current study will determine rates of statin use and whether statin use is associated with a decreased risk of heart attack in an HIV patient group, according to whether patient met criteria for statin use. The findings will help to develop strategies to prevent cardiovascular disease among HIV-infected patients.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-PSE-Q (56))
Program Officer
Rao, Anupama
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Massachusetts General Hospital
United States
Zip Code