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BackgroundSouth Africa has the largest population of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) realising the benefits of increased life expectancy. However, this population may be susceptible to cardiovascular disease (CVD) development, due to the chronic consequences of a lifestyle-related combination of risk factors, HIV infection and ART. We predicted a 10-year cardiovascular mortality risk in an HIV-infected population on long-term ART, based on their observed metabolic risk factor profile.MethodsWe extracted data from hospital medical charts for 384 randomly selected HIV-infected patients aged ≥ 30 years. We defined metabolic syndrome (MetS) subcomponents using the International Diabetes Federation definition. A validated non-laboratory-based model for predicting a 10-year CVD mortality risk was applied and categorised into five levels, with the thresholds ranging from very low-risk ( 30%).ResultsAmong the 384 patients, with a mean (± standard deviation) age of 42.90 ± 8.20 years, the proportion of patients that were overweight/obese was 53.3%, where 50.9% had low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and 21 (17.5%) had metabolic syndrome. A total of 144 patients with complete data allowed a definitive prediction of a 10-year CVD mortality risk. 52% (95% CI 44-60) of the patients were stratified to very low risk ( 30%) of 10-year CVD mortality. The CVD risk grows with increasing age (years), 57.82 ± 6.27 among very high risk and 37.52 ± 4.50; p ConclusionsApproximately 1 in 10 HIV-infected patients is at very high risk of predicted 10-year CVD mortality in our study population. Like uninfected individuals, our study found increased age as a major predictor of 10-year mortality risk and high prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Additional CVD mortality risk due to the duration of HIV infection and ART was seen in our population, further studies in larger and more representative study samples are encouraged. It recommends an urgent need for early planning, prevention and management of metabolic risk factors in HIV populations, at the point of ART initiation.

Original publication





Diabetology & metabolic syndrome

Publication Date





1Public Health Medicine, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 4001 South Africa.