Association of Serum Lipid Levels With HIV Serostatus, Specific Antiretroviral Agents, and Treatment Regimens


After puberty, cholesterol levels differ between women and men, with premenopausal women having lower total cholesterol (total-C) and LDL (the “bad” cholesterol). But after menopause women have higher total cholesterol and LDL (natural or surgical). HDL (the “good” cholesterol), is higher in women throughout adulthood, and higher in American blacks than in American whites. There are multiple cholesterol abnormalities in HIV infected people even without antiretroviral therapy (HAART), but most studies have been done on men. If HIV or HAART causes changes in cholesterol in women, it could increase their chance of heart disease. We found that HAART use, but not HIV infection, was associated with abnormal values of triglycerides and total and LDL cholesterol levels. These abnormalities may give women an increased risk for heart disease or strokes. HIV infection was associated with lower HDL, which was improved by HAART, but not completely so, a pattern different from that reported in men.


Anastos K, Lu D, Shi Q, Tien P, Kaplan R, Hessol N, Cole S, Vigen C, Cohen M, Young M and Justman J. The association of serum lipid levels with HIV serostatus, specific antiretroviral agents and treatment regimens. J Acquir Immune Defic Synd 2007;45(1):34-42.