AIDS can be linked to heart disease in several ways. First, the AIDS virus can infect the heart and cause cardiomyopathy. This is a condition where the heart muscle gets weak and cannot contract properly and the patient has symptoms of shortness of breath. Second, some of the newer drugs to treat the AIDS virus can increase blood triglyceride levels and decrease good, or HDL, cholesterol. There have been reports of AIDS patients suffering heart attacks prematurely after being treated with these drugs. Most physicians now routinely monitor blood lipids in patients on these drugs.