HIV-infected individuals are at a higher risk of disorders of lipid metabolism and cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the exact associations between HIV infection, CVD, and lipid metabolism are not well understood. The objective of this study is to investigate how plasma lipid profiles in HIV patients affect the risk of carotid artery atherosclerosis (CAA).

This prospective analysis included a total of 737 participants aged 35-55 years. Of these, 520 had HIV, and 217 did not. The association of baseline lipid species with the risk of plaque was examined using Poisson regression. The primary endpoint of the study was the progression of CAA.

The researchers identified a total of 12 multiple plasma lipid species and 10 lipid classes linked with a higher risk of plaque. After adjusting for conventional CVD risk factors, 9 lipid species remained significant, albeit most of them showed moderate-high association with conventional blood lipids. The findings also suggested that plaque-increased species were more substantial in individuals with HIV, notably those using antiretroviral therapy.

The research concluded that multiple plasma lipid species were associated with an increased risk of CAA, with the effect being more profound in HIV patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy.