Stroke incidence is highest in women and non-Hispanic blacks living with HIV in the AIDS Clinical Trials Group Longitudinal Linked Randomized Trials cohort

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To investigate the incidence of first-ever stroke/transient ischemic attack (TIA) and associated risk factors in a cohort of persons living with HIV infection (PLWH).


Observational cohort study


We determined incidence rates of first-ever stroke/TIA in PLWH after ART initiation from the AIDS Clinical Trials Group ALLRT cohort and its parent trials. Poisson regression models evaluated baseline and time-varying covariates as risk factors for stroke/TIA.


The incidence rate of stroke/TIA was 1.69 per 1000 person-years. Incidence rates were highest in women (2.88 stroke/TIAs per 1000 person-years compared with 1.40 per 1000 person-years in men) and non-Hispanic Blacks (2.51 stroke/TIAs per 1000 person-years compared with 0.77 per 1000 person-years in Hispanic/other race/ethnicities and 1.56 per 1000 person-years in whites). In a multivariable model, we found a significant age-by-sex interaction (P = 0.01). The higher risk of stroke/TIA in women was more pronounced at younger ages, whereas older age conferred a greater increase in stroke/TIA risk in men than women. Other risk factors for stroke/TIA included hypertension, higher LDL, and HIV RNA greater than 200 copies/ml. Overweight/obese BMI and higher CD4+:CD8+ ratio protected against stroke/TIA.


Women and non-Hispanic Blacks living with HIV had the highest incidence rates of stroke/TIA. A concerted effort must be made to include PLWH from these at-risk groups in observational and interventional studies aimed at understanding stroke mechanisms and reducing stroke risk in HIV infection. Strategies to modify stroke risk in PLWH should employ a multipronged approach targeting vascular risk factors and engaging and retaining patients in HIV care.

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