HIV-associated cardiovascular disease pathogenesis: an emerging understanding through imaging and immunology

Document Type



Imaging and Diagnostic Radiology (East Africa)


Cardiac abnormalities were identified early in the epidemic of AIDS, predating the isolation and characterization of the etiologic agent, HIV. Several decades later, the causation and pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease (CVD) linked to HIV infection continue to be the focus of intense speculation. Before the widespread use of antiretroviral therapy, HIV-associated CVD was primarily characterized by HIV-associated cardiomyopathy linked to profound immunodeficiency. With increasing antiretroviral therapy use, viral load suppression, and establishment of immune competency, the effects of HIV on the cardiovascular system are more subtle. Yet, people living with HIV still face an increased incidence of cardiovascular pathology. Advances in cardiac imaging modalities and immunology have deepened our understanding of the pathogenesis of HIV-associated CVD. This review provides an overview of the pathogenesis of HIV-associated CVD integrating data from imaging and immunologic studies with particular relevance to the HIV population originating from high-endemic regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa. The review highlights key evidence gaps in the field and suggests future directions for research to better understand the complex HIV-CVD interactions.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Circulation Research