Hypertension in the HIV-infected patient

Research paper by Sola Aoun, Emilio Ramos

Indexed on: 01 Sep '00Published on: 01 Sep '00Published in: Current Hypertension Reports


HIV infection has reached endemic proportions in many African countries. In addition, HIV infection is a significant cause of renal dysfunction in the United States. HIV patients are at higher risk of developing hypertension at a younger age than the general population. Predisposing factors for developing hypertension include vasculitis in small, medium, and large vessels in the form of leukocytoclastic vasculitis, and aneurysms of the large vessels such as the carotid, femoral, and abdominal aorta with impairment of flow to the renal arteries. A syndrome of acquired glucocorticoid resistance has been described in patients with HIV with hypercortisolism and a lower affinity of the glucocorticoid receptors. The syndrome is characterized clinically by weakness, hypertension or hypotension, and skin pigmentation changes. Acute and chronic renal failure is often associated with HIV infection. The associated dysfunction in water and salt handling often induces hypertension. Finally, atherosclerosis has been described in young adults with HIV infection secondary to receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy.