WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Liverpool study links HIV to stroke risk among young adults in Africa

A recent study from the Institute of Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool shows that HIV infections are the top risk factor for strokes among young adults in sub-Saharan Africa.

The study shows the incidence of stroke rates is rising throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Malawi, for example, has had many young adults included in its stroke population, even though they don’t have the typical risk factors like obesity, high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes.

"The link between HIV infection and stroke is now more convincing than ever,” study leader Dr. Laura Benjamin said. “While in the longer term treatment reduces stroke risk, we were surprised to find that the risk actually increases in the first few months of therapy."

Scientists have connected HIV infections to the risk factors of young adults having strokes in the area. A study that was case-controlled involved 222 stroke patients as well as 503 controls. Approximately 42 percent of the patients who were less than 45 had strokes because of their HIV infections.

"Treatment for HIV is clearly essential, but the results of this study suggest we may have to carefully rethink how we introduce HIV treatment,” Tom Solomon, senior author of the study, said. “How to address this is something that the research community will need to consider, not just in sub-Saharan Africa, but in countries where HIV infection exists."

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