Cardiovascular disease has become the leading cause of death for those living with HIV, as the infection has moved from a terminal disease to a chronic illness.
The infection has moved from being a terminal disease to a chronic condition.With improved survival rates, the focus of care has shifted to managing chronic illness in which cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease are common co-morbid conditions requiring care and treatment.
The combination of conditions often requires balancing medications, procedures and other interventions while considering competing priorities of care.
In the article, two case studies of hypothetical patients living with HIV highlight the treatment options and nursing considerations associated with receiving care for cardiovascular disease.
The article emphasizes that clinicians should take special care to prevent interactions between antiretroviral agents and other medications, optimizing the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy and preventing avoidable toxic effects.
Because high-level adherence with medications is essential in HIV treatment, unnecessary changes in an antiretroviral therapy regimen should be avoided.
"Because persons living with HIV are living longer, they are increasingly affected by health conditions associated with aging, such as cardiovascular disease," said co-author Michael V. Relf, PhD, associate professor and associate dean for global and community affairs, Duke University School of Nursing, Durham, North Carolina.
With more than 1 million people living with HIV in the United States, critical care nurses must understand the complexity of cardiovascular disease among persons living with HIV.