Evidence of increased blood pressure and hypertension risk among people living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy: a systematic review with meta-analysis

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa


Owing to antiretroviral drug-induced endothelial dysfunction, HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) may have elevated blood pressure. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the effects of ART on blood pressure levels and hypertension risk among HIV-infected populations worldwide. We sought articles that compared the mean blood pressure measurements and hypertension prevalence between HIV-infected adults naive and exposed to ART. Thirty-nine studies comprising 44 903 participants met the inclusion criteria. Overall, systolic (mean difference (MD) 4.52 mm Hg, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.65-6.39, I(2)=68.1%, 19 studies) and diastolic blood pressure levels (MD 3.17 mm Hg, 95% CI 1.71-4.64, I(2)=72.5%, 16 studies) were significantly higher among ART-exposed patients compared with treatment-naive patients. Similarly, the risk of hypertension was significantly higher among ART-exposed patients, such that among 28 908 ART-exposed patients, 4195 (14.5%) had hypertension compared with 950 of 9086 (10.5%) in those who were treatment-naive (odds ratio 1.68, 95% CI 1.35-2.10, I(2)=81.5%, 32 studies). In summary, exposure to ART is significantly associated with increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, and increased risk of hypertension, regardless of study-level sociodemographic differences. This meta-analysis supports the need for population-based strategies to reduce the risk of high blood pressure among people living with HIV on ART.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Human Hypertension