For the study, Nancy Crum-Cianflone of TriService AIDS Clinical Consortium in San Diego and colleagues examined medical records of 663 HIV-positive patients at U.S. Navy hospitals in San Diego and Maryland. The researchers considered medication records, how long participants had been HIV-positive and whether participants had a history of diabetes or high blood pressure.
The study found that 63% of participants were either overweight or obese and that 3% were underweight. About 30% of participants who had progressed to AIDS were overweight or obese, the study found. The study did not find a connection between antiretroviral drugs and weight gain. Participants with weight gain put on an average of 13 pounds over 10 years, the study found. In addition, the study found that people who contracted HIV at younger ages, those who had been HIV-positive for a longer time and those who had high blood pressure were at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese.
None of the participants had "wasting" syndrome, which is characterized by the uncontrollable loss of 10% of body weight, as well as fever and diarrhea. Wasting syndrome was common among people living with HIV/AIDS when the virus was first discovered, the AP/Times reports.
According to the AP/Times, the study's findings are "particularly striking" because many of the study participants were in the military or were military spouses, who tend to be in better physical shape than the general population. Earlier research had found that about 40% of HIV-positive people are overweight.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation