The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced the launch of a clinical trial to evaluate the effects of aspirin and statins in preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD) in individuals with long-term HIV infections. The study is funded by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Patients with long-term HIV infections have a greater risk of developing heart disease and stroke compared to the general population, and researchers have hypothesized that the increased risk is associated with drug toxicity, immune defects, and chronic inflammation. Both individuals on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and elite controllers have elevated levels of clotting factors and blood markers that indicate inflammation and an active immune response. The objective of this study is to assess how aspirin or statins change immune and clotting systems in patients with HIV.

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Adults ≥18 years old on ART, as well as “elite controllers” (those who can limit the virus without ART), are currently being recruited for the study. Patients who have not taken aspirin or statins during the past 6 months will be monitored for 3 months to establish baseline levels of clotting and inflammatory agents in the blood, whereby they will then be randomized to receive aspirin or atorvastatin for 9 months. Clotting and inflammatory markers from blood samples and MRI scans will be utilized to measures the thickness of blood vessels in the neck.

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