INTRODUCTIONHIV-infected patients present increased incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Although incipient kidney function impairment has been associated with CVD in the general population, this association has not been properly addressed in HIV-infected patients. We assessed the relationship between incipient renal impairment (IRI) and subclinical atherosclerosis in HIV-infected patients.METHODSEstimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), and cardiovascular biomarkers were measured in 145 HIV-infected patients. IRI was defined as a composite variable: eGFR <90 mL/min, rate of eGFR decrease >3% annually over a period of 3 years, and albumin/creatinine urine ratio above the median (≥5 mg/g). Individuals with a cIMT ≥75th percentile or plaque were classified as having subclinical atherosclerosis.RESULTSNinety-five patients (64.1%) met the criteria for IRI. As for HIV-related factors, patients with IRI more frequently had lipodystrophy (41.3% vs. 21.6%; P = 0.017), a lower CD4 lymphocyte nadir [210 (125-343) vs. 302 (178-408) cells/mL; P = 0.046], and longer exposure to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors [187 (84-259) vs. 104 (34-170) months; P = 0.001], to nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors [32 (7-77) vs. 20 0-40) months; P = 0.043], and to protease inhibitors [42 (0-115] vs. 2.5 (0-59) months; P = 0.007]. Patients with IRI more frequently had subclinical atherosclerosis (40.7% vs. 13.7%; odds ratio: 4.3; 95% confidence interval: 1.8 to 10.6; P = 0.001), even after adjustment for cardiovascular and HIV-related parameters (odds ratio: 3.8; 95% confidence interval: 1.3 to 11; P = 0.012).CONCLUSIONSThe presence of IRI is an independent predictor of increased cIMT in HIV-infected patients and may help to identify patients with subclinical atherosclerosis and, therefore, increased risk of CVD.