R Hilton
Journal Issue: 
Volume 43: Issue 3: 2013



Since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in 1996, mortality in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has decreased markedly. As a result, morbidity from other chronic conditions  such as kidney, liver and heart disease is increasing. This is in part as a natural consequence of ageing, and in part due to the higher risk of solid organ failure in these individuals. This higher risk is related to the co-morbidities associated with HIV infection and to the metabolic consequences of drug therapy. Kidney disease is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with HIV infection and encompasses a range of clinical presentations including acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and end-stage kidney disease. Black race is the most important predictor of kidney disease in HIV-infected persons due to both genetic and modifiable causes. HIV associated nephropathy (HIVAN) is caused by viral infection of the renal epithelium and, although decreasing in incidence, remains the most common cause of CKD in HIV-infected persons. In addition to HIVAN, a wide spectrum of other histopathological presentations, many of which are immune complex-mediated, is increasingly recognised. Clinicians who treat these patients should be aware of the nephrotoxic potential of several commonly used medications, particularly antiviral agents, and also the need to dose-adjust medication in renal impairment. The increased life expectancy of patients with HIV and end-stage kidney disease has meant that kidney transplantation is increasingly an option. Results from carefully conducted prospective studies are promising, at least in the short term.

Keywords Antiretroviral therapy, HIV, HIVAN, kidney disease