After being hospitalized for acute coronary syndrome (ACS), people with HIV are at greater risk of dying than those without—but not if they are on antiretrovirals (ARVs) and have high CD4s, aidsmap reports. ACS includes heart attacks, chest pains and other problems that result from blockage of the blood vessels that connect to the heart.

To determine how HIV status, CD4 levels and ARV use affected mortality, researchers at Kaiser Permanente, the vast managed care organization, analyzed records of people hospitalized for the first time with ACS at Kaiser Permanente California between 1996 and 2010. The study group included 226 people with HIV and 86,321 who were HIV negative. The scientists presented their findings at the IDWeek 2013 conference in San Francisco.

On the whole, those with HIV had a 2.2-times greater risk of death after one year as compared with the HIV-negative population, and 2.5-times greater risk after three years.

Those HIV-positive people who had CD4s between 200 and 499 were 2.5-times more likely to die after three years than the HIV-negative group. This elevated risk of death increased to 5.6-times greater for the HIV-positive people with less than 200 CD4 cells. If those in the HIV-positive group had more than 500 CD4s, however, their risk of death was essentially the same as if they were HIV negative.

If people with HIV were not taking ARVs, they had a 3.4-fold greater risk of death when compared with those who did not have the virus.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.

To read the conference abstract, click here.