What can patients do?

General advice aimed at reducing lipid levels and reducing the chance of heart disease may be considered:

  • Exercise regularly, stop smoking, and use alternative forms of birth control to the contraceptive pill (e.g. condoms, caps).
  • Resistance and aerobic exercise may increase muscle and body mass.
  • Discuss monitoring your triglycerides, cholesterol and blood glucose with your doctor. Sophisticated monitoring of the heart is not generally warranted unless other symptoms or tests suggest heart problems.
  • Ask your doctor about monitoring for fat wasting and lipodystrophy.
  • Changes to diet, such as reducing fat and sugar intake, may reduce a person's chance of diabetes, elevated blood lipids and heart disease. Of course, dietary changes may be difficult given that all protease inhibitors except indinavir are taken with a high-fat meal. Consult an HIV dietitian to ensure you don't inadvertently lose weight.
  • Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) can prevent blood clotting, and is used to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in some HV-negative patients. Aspirin has not been studied as a preventive measure in HIV-positive patients, although some recommend its use.1
  • Mild blood fat elevations plus low HDL cholesterol may not respond to a low-fat diet. Ask your dietitian about mono-unsaturated fats.


  1. Tornero C et al. Aspirin is indicated for primary prevention of cardiovascular events in HIV-infected patients. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 54: 560, 2010
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.