The development of type 2 diabetes has been linked to systemic inflammation among HIV-positive people taking antiretrovirals (ARVs).
Type 2 diabetes study
ARVs are designed to suppress the HIV virus, but findings from the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes sought to analyse a link with type 2 diabetes.
An investigation was conducted of the relationship between baseline levels of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), interleukin (IL-6) and new type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
Approximately 3,700 people were studied in two large HIV treatment strategy trials – the SMART and ESPIRIT studies. ARVS were taken by all participants without any additional therapy.
Diagnosis of type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes was diagnosed in 137 people during an average 4.6 years of follow-up, for a rate of 8.18 per 1,000 person-years. During follow-up, higher baseline hsCRP and IL-6 were associated with diagnosis for type 2 diabetes.
Those who developed diabetes had significantly higher median baseline levels of the two inflammatory markers compared to those who didn’t develop diabetes.
A number of traditional risk factors such as higher body mass index and older age were also linked to diabetes diagnoses.
The authors of the study concluded: “Our findings support the hypothesis that low-grade systemic inflammation is an underlying factor in the pathogenesis of type-2 diabetes”.
They also believe their findings provide “clues” as to why people with HIV on ARVs remain at increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and other chronic illnesses.

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