JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – According to a clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health, taking a daily statin reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients living with HIV by more than 35%.

The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The Randomized Trial to Prevent Vascular Events in HIV, REPRIEVE for short, enrolled more than 7,000 men and women from 145 sites in 12 countries, following them an average of five years.

REPRIEVE is the largest randomized trial focused on the effect of low-dose statins in reducing cardiovascular risks in people living with HIV.

Of the participants, 25 enrolled at the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s (UMMC) Adult Special Care Clinic, where Dr. James Brock, associate professor of medicine/infectious diseases, was principal investigator.

Although people living with HIV have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, researchers had not yet studied if they would benefit from aggressive statin therapy. 

Participants ranged in age from 40 to 75, with an average age of 50, and had low-to-moderate risks for cardiovascular disease, which means they would otherwise not have been prescribed statins.

“The REPRIEVE trial sought to answer that question and demonstrated benefit of statin therapy compared to placebo in people with low to moderate predicted cardiovascular risk, which is fantastic in that it provides guidance to clinicians for a way to actually address that increased cardiovascular risk in people with HIV who would not have previously received a statin in routine clinical practice,” said Brock.

An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States had HIV at the end of 2021. Mississippi ranks seventh in the nation for HIV infection, and Jackson ranks third among all metropolitan areas for AIDS diagnoses. AIDS is an incurable, life-threatening condition caused by HIV.