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2/7/13 7:15 A

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What Are the Benefits of Aspirin for People Living With HIV?

Question from

Hi Doc

I had a thought- I know one of the concerns that HIV patients have is increasing effects of long term inflammation. Is something as simple as taking aspirin a good idea for HIV patients to consider?

Thanks Mike


Response from Dr. Young

Hi Mike and thanks for posting your interesting question.

Aspirin is known to decrease heart disease risk in men and stroke risk in women. It's actually recommended for many individuals for this reason. It's cheap, well tested, has a known safety and toxicity profile, and oh, it works.

Current recommendations from the prestigious US Preventive Services Task Force include the use of aspirin for men age between 45-79 years and women age 55-79 to reduce the risk of heart attacks, when this risk outweighs the risk of harm due to gastrointestinal bleeding.

The agency recommends against the use of aspirin for stroke prevention in women less than 55 or for heart attack prevention in men less than 45.

Taken in sum, with nearly 50% of the US population of positives over the age of 50, one can conclude that a similar percentage of positives should be considered for aspirin preventive treatment.

What's clear is that most HIV providers aren't aware of this, or aren't offering aspirin to their patients who are eligible (self included). A recent published study done at the University of Alabama showed that less than 20% of eligible individuals received aspirin as currently recommended.

So, there's much education and awareness raising to be done. People living with HIV are living longer and older. Increasing the quality of care for the HIV community needs to encompass not just prevention of AIDS complications, but also the preventive medical care for a myriad of health areas- well known to the primary care and general medical fields, but lost in the desperate early days of the AIDS epidemic.

Thanks for bringing this subject to our attention.

"How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world."
~William Shakespeare


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