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Posted by on Mar 12, 2016 in News | 1 comment

The heart health of women living with HIV matters!

April/May 2016

Did you know that women with HIV are 3 times more likely to have a heart attack than women without HIV?

Even women who have not had symptoms of chest pain may be at risk for developing a heart attack in the future. As doctors and nurses who care for people living with HIV, we are committed to to understanding:

  • Why are women with HIV at increased risk for having a heart attack? And,

  • What can be done to reduce this risk?

Sara-and-Markella

Dr. Sara Looby (left) and Dr. Markella Zanni (right) presenting their research on heart disease risk among women living with HIV at the CROI Conference, Boston, March 2016.

 

We recently led a research study aimed at understanding which factors most strongly relate to heart disease risk among women living with HIV.

We found that among women with HIV, hormone changes associated with menopause are related to levels of inflammation (the body’s response to an infection) and to the risk of heart disease.

It’s generally understood that inflammation may make heart disease worse by affecting the build-up of cholesterol-rich plaque in blood vessels surrounding the heart. We presented our findings to a group of our colleagues, and like you, people were eager to learn more. A common question was:

  • Are there safe ways to reduce inflammation and decrease heart disease risk among women and men with HIV?

 

REPRIEVE is a clinical trial evaluating whether a daily dose of pitavastatin lowers the risk of heart-related disease among people living with HIV.

Pitavastatin is an FDA-approved medication known to lower cholesterol, and it has also been shown to reduce inflammation in people living with HIV. 6500 men and women with HIV will be enrolling in the REPRIEVE trial, and there are REPRIEVE sites all across the United States and even abroad.

Good news for women with HIV is that the REPRIEVE trial team is dedicated to understanding the factors that influence heart disease risk in women as well as men.

The team is also dedicated to understanding whether pitavastatin works as well for women as it does for men. But in order for REPRIEVE to provide answers on the heart health relevant to women with HIV, women who are eligible and interested need to actively take part in the research.

 

Have you heard about the Follow YOUR Heart campaign? We are launching this campaign together with other members of the REPRIEVE trial study team to help educate women with HIV about the importance of research participation, and to provide information about the REPRIEVE trial.

Check out our Follow YOUR Heart video! Listen to women just like you talk about why heart health matters to them, why HIV doesn’t define them, and why engaging in clinical research is so important.

Women just like you are helping to advance medical knowledge and are paving the way to healthier hearts for the HIV community. They are learning and they are giving back. They are following their hearts. And so can you.

 

You may be eligible for REPRIEVE if you are a 40-75 year old individual with HIV on antiretroviral therapy who has not previously experienced a heart attack or stroke. Click here to learn more about the REPRIEVE trial and see if you can sign up.