Progress in the Quest for an HIV Cure

Statins among promising treatment options helping to progress the HIV treatment landscape.

Ongoing efforts in the search for an HIV cure were highlighted recently in a special issue of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.

One study demonstrated that statins could significantly reduce the concentration of D-dimer, a marker of coagulation, and interleukin-8 and interleukin-12 in individuals living with HIV.

The article entitled, “Significant Decrease in Plasma Levels of D-Dimer, Interleukin-8, and Interleukin-12 After a 12-Month Treatment with Rosuvastatin in HIV-Infected Patients Under Antiretroviral Therapy,” revealed that the anti-inflammatory properties of statins and their effect on the formation of blood clots could help reduce HIV comorbidities, such as cardiovascular disease.

In another study, investigators identified factors associated with better cognitive function in patients with HIV who were 50 years or older treated with combination antiretroviral therapy (ART). The results of the study showed that participants with a lower frailty index score were less likely to have neurocognitive impairment.

In the article “Association of T Cell and Macrophage Activation with Arterial Vascular Health in HIV,” the investigators identified the role that persistent T cell and macrophage activation in adults with HIV undergoing combination ART had on the function of arterial blood vessels.

The results of the study showed that the effects of HIV-related chronic immune activation on the arterial lining and vascular smooth muscle may promote the development of atherosclerosis and the formation of plaque, which can lead to cardiovascular disease.

The investigators presented blood-based inflammatory measures and immune activation markers, as well as the results of brachial artery flow-mediated dilation on ultrasound.

“It is becoming clear that although HIV-infected individuals can control the amount of virus in their system with antiviral treatments, there are still negative health consequences that look like premature aging, including cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment,” said Thomas Hope, PhD, editor-in-chief of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses and professor of Cell and Molecular Biology and Northwestern University. “These 3 papers and others in the Cure issue seek a better understanding of the cause of this accelerated aging. The Calza article suggest that taking statins, which reduce lipid levels, may be an effective treatment to reduce damaging inflammation in HIV-infected individuals taking appropriate antiviral therapy.”