Tobacco, illicit drugs use and risk of cardiovascular disease in patients living with HIV

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Purpose of reviewThere is a strong link between HIV, smoking and illicit drugs. This association could be clinically relevant as it may potentiate the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The purpose of this review is to bring readers up to date on issues concerning the cardiovascular risk associated with tobacco and illicit drugs in patients living with HIV (PLHIV), examining the studies related to this topic published in the last year.Recent findingsThere is a strong association between smoking and atherosclerotic disease in PLHIV, reducing life expectancy secondary to CVD by up to 6 years. Illicit drugs were associated with increased risk of atherosclerotic problems but to a lesser extent than smoking. A significant association of drugs such as cocaine with subclinical coronary atherosclerosis been demonstrated. The relation of marijuana, heroin and amphetamines with atherosclerosis generates more controversy. However, those drugs are associated with cardiovascular morbidity, independently of smoking and other traditional risk factors.SummaryTobacco and illicit drugs are linked to CVD in HIV patients. This leads to the need to create special programs to address the addiction to smoking and illicit drugs, in order to mitigate their consequences and reduce cardiovascular risk.

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