Diabetes mellitus, or type 2 diabetes, develops as a consequence of failures in the body’s ability to handle glucose. Production of insulin, the hormone which regulates glucose levels, may decline or cells may stop responding to insulin. When this happens, glucose stays in the blood and is not taken up by cells for use as fuel. Over time, a high level of glucose in the blood leads to damage to small blood vessels, causing kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, lower limb damage and loss of sight.

Type 2 diabetes is more common in people who are obese and becomes more common with age. But people living with HIV (PLWH) are more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than the general population, when all other risk factors are taken into account. It is unclear to what extent HIV-related factors lead to a higher incidence of diabetes in PLWH.

A new study has found that PLWH over the age of 50 are more likely to have developed type 2 diabetes if they started antiretroviral treatment before 1999 or had a longer exposure to older antiretroviral drugs such as stavudine (d4T) or first-generation protease inhibitors such as nelfinavir or indinavir. It is important to monitor for type 2 diabletes in all PLWH, but perhaps more so for those falling into this category.

The full article can be read here.