[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: Endothelial dysfunction and inflammation have been demonstrated to be markers of cardiovascular risk. We investigated the effects of HIV infection per se and the antiretroviral treatment prescribed on the levels of risk factors of cardiovascular disease. METHODS: This was a prospective study of 20 treatment-naïve, nonsmoking, HIV-positive patients examined before and after 3 months of treatment with a protease inhibitor (PI)-containing regimen followed by 3 months of treatment with nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-containing therapy. Parameters of inflammation, endothelial function and coagulation were examined. The results were compared with those for an age- and gender-matched, nonsmoking, healthy control group. RESULTS: Compared with controls, treatment-naïve HIV-infected patients exhibited endothelial dysfunction [flow-mediated dilation (FMD) 108 vs. 111% for HIV-infected vs. control groups, respectively; P < 0.05] and activation [von Willebrand factor 2.0 vs. 0.9 U/l; soluble intercellular adhesion molecule (sICAM) 313 vs. 211 ng/L, respectively; P < 0.01]. Inflammation [C-reactive protein (CRP) 24 vs. 8.6 nmol/L; fibrinogen 9.4 vs. 8.6 μmol/L, respectively; P < 0.05] and coagulation/fibrinolysis (D-dimers 0.55 vs. 0.23 μg/mL, respectively; P < 0.01) were increased. Initiating therapy resulted in normalization of FMD and a significant decrease in endothelial activation and CRP. CONCLUSION: Endothelial dysfunction together with increased inflammation and coagulation were more prevalent in untreated HIV-infected patients compared with controls. These cardiovascular risk factors improved with treatment, although not all parameters normalized after 6 months.