People who gain weight during their first year on HIV treatment are at increased long-term risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes. The elevated risk of heart disease seen in a recent study was only for those with a normal BMI when starting antiretrovirals (ARVs), while the elevated risk of diabetes applied to all regardless of their initial weight.

Publishing their findings in HIV Medicine, researchers from the Data Collection on Adverse Events of Anti-HIV Drugs (D:A:D) cohort study followed 9,321 people starting HIV treatment for the first time.

The participants were followed for a cumulative 43,982 years, during which they experienced 97 CVD-related health events (including heart attack, stroke and coronary procedures) and 125 diabetes-related health events.

After adjusting the data for various factors, the researchers found that for every one-unit increase in BMI during their first year on treatment, those who started ARVs with a normal BMI (18.5 to 25) had an 18 percent increase in their long-term risk of a CVD event. Regardless of initial BMI, the participants had an 11 percent increased risk for a diabetes event for every one-unit increase in BMI during their first year on ARVs.

To read the study abstract, click here.

For a BMI calculator, click here.