The dramatic change of the natural history of HIV-infected patients by highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has exposed these patients to cardiovascular risk, including cardiovascular disease and hypertension. In HIV-infected patients, the development of arterial hypertension, at least in the medium–long term is an established feature, although recognized predictors of its development have not been clearly identified. In addition, conflicting data regarding the influence of antiretroviral therapy (ART) are reported. The presence of a proinflammatory state and oxidative stress-mediated endothelial dysfunction seem, however, to play a pathophysiologic role. In this review, we examine and provide a comprehensive, literature based, consideration of the pathophysiologic aspects of hypertension in these patients.
HIV-infected patients, independently of the presence of hypertension, remain at very high cardiovascular risk due to the presence of the same cardiovascular risk factors recognized for the general population with, in addition, the indirect influence of the ART, essentially via its effect on lipid metabolism. This review based on the evidence from the literature, concludes that the management of HIV-infected patients in terms of cardiovascular prevention emerges as a priority. The consideration of cardiovascular risk in these patients should receive the same emphasis given for the general population at high cardiovascular risk, including adequate blood pressure control according to international guidelines.