Introduction: HIV drug treatment has greatly improved life expectancy, but increased risk of cardiovascular disease remains, potentially due to the additional burdens of infection, inflammation and antiretroviral treatment. The Mediterranean Diet has been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk and mortality in the general population, but no evidence exists for this effect in the HIV population. This study will explore the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to examine whether a Mediterranean-style diet that incorporates a portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods, reduces cardiovascular risk in people with HIV dyslipidaemia. Methods and analysis: 60 adults with stable HIV infection on antiretroviral treatment and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol >3 mmol/L will be recruited from 3 West Midlands HIV services. Participants will be randomised 1:1 to 1 of 2 dietary interventions, with stratification by gender and smoking status. Participants allocated to Diet1 will receive advice to reduce saturated fat intake, and those to Diet2 on how to adopt the Mediterranean Portfolio Diet with additional cholesterol-lowering foods (nuts, stanols, soya, oats, pulses). Measurements of fasting blood lipids, body composition and arterial stiffness will be conducted at baseline, and month 6 and 12 of the intervention. Food intake will be assessed using the Mediterranean Diet Score, 3-day food diaries and metabolomic biomarkers. Questionnaires will be used to assess quality of life and process evaluation. Qualitative interviews will explore barriers and facilitators to making dietary changes, and participant views on the intervention. Qualitative data will be analysed using the Framework Method. Feasibility will be assessed in terms of trial recruitment, retention, compliance to study visits and the intervention. SD of outcomes will inform the power calculation of the definitive RCT. Ethics: The West Midlands Ethics Committee has approved this study and informed consent forms. This trial is the first to test cholesterol-lowering foods in adults with HIV.
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