Researchers are continuously sounding the alarm that people with HIV, who have an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) as it is, are prescribed statins at a troublingly low rate, Medscape reports. A new study of people with CVD risk factors found that those with HIV were less likely to be prescribed a statin or aspirin than those without the virus.

Publishing their findings in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of HIV-positive and -negative individuals with CVD risk factors. The study participants were between ages 30 and 79 and participated in the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey/National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey between 2006 and 2013.

The study authors specifically looked at data from 1,631 health care visits by HIV-positive individuals and 226,862 HIV-negative individuals. At study visits when the participants met the guideline-recommended criteria for prevention of cardiovascular disease or in fact had CVD, a respective 5.1 percent and 13.8 percent for those with and without HIV received an aspirin or other blood thinner prescription. When the participants had diabetes, CVD or irregular blood lipids 23.6 percent of those with HIV received a statin prescription compared with 35.8 percent of those without the virus.

There were no significant differences between the two study groups in the rates of blood pressure medication prescriptions, diet and exercise counseling, smoking cessation counseling or prescription of a drug to help quit smoking.

After adjusting the data for age, sex, ethnicity, Medicaid versus uninsured status, urban versus rural setting, obesity versus overweight status, smoking, irregular lipids, diabetes, high blood pressure, CVD and trends over time, the researchers found that compared with not having the virus, having HIV was associated with a 47 percent reduced likelihood of receiving a prescription for aspirin or other blood thinner and a 49 percent reduced likelihood of receiving a statin prescription.

To read a POZ feature article about whether people with HIV, even those who are not indicated for such a medication, should take a statin, click here.

To read the Medscape article, click here (free registration with the site is required).

To read the study, click here.