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NIH researcher available to discuss largest research study on long-term HIV survivors

Study focuses on impact of chronic conditions affecting people living with HIV

WHAT: June 5 is HIV Long-Term Survivors Day, which recognizes the more than one million people in the United States living with HIV, while raising awareness about their health needs. To mark the day, a researcher with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will be available to discuss the nation’s largest ongoing study of HIV survivors, called the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) / Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) Combined Cohort Study, or MACS/WIHS.

This NIH-funded, multi-institutional collaborative study seeks to understand and reduce the impact of chronic health conditions that are affecting people with HIV— cardiovascular disease, lung diseases such as pulmonary hypertension and COPD, anemias and other blood-related disorders, sleep disorders, and certain cancers. People with HIV are living longer than ever and are now more likely to develop these chronic diseases than they are to develop HIV-related diseases.

For more than two decades, separate MACS and WIHS studies nationwide have resulted in groundbreaking findings about people living with HIV, including discoveries about diagnosing and managing HIV and the link between low immune cell counts and AIDS. This year, the NIH combined those two studies into a single study that will build upon past work. The newly consolidated study will include existing participants, as well recruit new participants that were underrepresented in previous studies, including a special focus on African-American and Hispanic populations and residents of southern states.

The new study aims to identify biomarkers of increased risk for chronic disorders in people living with HIV, determine how antiretroviral therapy affects other medical conditions, and develop strategies for more effective interventions and treatments. The study will also help promote healthy aging among individuals with HIV by studying the effects of age, sex, race/ethnicity, HIV status, and other risk factors for chronic diseases.

WHO: Sean Altekruse, D.V.M., Ph.D., M.P.H., NHLBI Program Officer for MACS/WIHS Combined Cohort Study, Epidemiology Branch, Prevention and Population Science Program, Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

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