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Inflammation Studies

The UCLA CARE Center has studies available that test if medicines and even some vitamins can help reduce chronic inflammation caused by HIV:

 ACTG 5314- Methotrexate

This study will look at the effects of a medication, low dose methotrexate (LDMTX), on inflammation and heart health in people who have HIV infection. It will also look at whether LDMTX can lower the risk of heart disease by lowering HIV-related inflammation.

ACTG 5331- Aspirin

This study is for people who are infected with HIV and are doing well on their medications. We want to see if aspirin can help lower the inflammation associated with HIV infection in blood tests and if treatment with aspirin can lower the risk of heard disease by lowering HIV-related inflammation.

Inflammation & HIV FAQ

What is inflammation?

When you are sick, for example with a cold or flu, your body works to fight the bacteria or virus causing you to feel bad.  You might get a fever, runny nose, cough or muscle aches.  These symptoms are from your body sending signals to attack the infection.  This process is called inflammation, and can be thought of as the battle between your body's immune system and the infection.
This inflammation (acute inflammation, or inflammation that is happening right now but wasn't happening before you got sick), normally stays for a short period of time and then you feel better - usually because your body wins the battle against the infection.  However, sometimes an infection (like HIV) stays in the body for a long time.  This can cause what is called chronic inflammation (inflammation that lasts for a while without stopping and starting - sometimes even for years).  Chronic inflammation happens because even though your body isn't winning, it keeps trying to fight the infection.  Some people might continue to feel sick. Other people might feel healthy, but their bodies are still sick on the inside.  You can feel totally fine, but the chronic inflammation battle can still be going on.

Could I have inflammation?

There are two types of inflammation caused by HIV. 
Acute inflammation happens when you first get HIV, and early symptoms can include fever, sore throat, muscle aches or fatigue.
Chronic inflammation occurs over a longer period of time.  Sometimes people do have symptoms from chronic inflammation, including gland (lymph-node) swelling or tiredness (fatigue). However, many people do not feel any physical symptoms from chronic inflammation, but the HIV may still be causing damage to the body. Lab tests can help to find the inflammation that we cannot see or feel.  HIV can cause chronic inflammation, even if you are on treatment and doing well.  This is because as long as HIV is in your body, even in small amounts, your body will keep trying to fight it.

Why is inflammation a problem?

Inflammation can damage the body over time - even if you are on HIV treatment and your "numbers" (viral load and t-cells) are good.  Heart problems, cancers, kidney and liver diseases, memory loss, and depression may all be related to chronic inflammation.

What can I do to reduce inflammation?

Right now, no one knows the best way to reduce inflammation - but we know that it is important to figure this out.  Treatments called immune therapies may reduce inflammation caused by HIV. Other kinds of treatments may also help to reduce inflammation.  All of these treatments are designed to help inflammation "calm down," and may prevent damage to organs that occurs over a long period of time.

Where can I get more information?

Please call the UCLA CARE Center at (310) 557-9062 or email us at CAREoutreach@mednet.ucla.edu.