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Obesity and weight gain in HIV-infected adults on antiretroviral therapy: what’s the harm?

The percentage of HIV-infected adults who were obese-body mass index >30 kg/m2-when they began antiretroviral therapy (ART) doubled over a 12-year period. After 3 years of ART, 18% of adults who were overweight at initiation of therapy had become obese, and 22% of those with a normal BMI at initiation had become overweight, raising their risk of additional health complications, according to a new study published in AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free to download on the AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses website until March 3, 2016.

John Koethe and coauthors, writing on behalf of the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design (NA-ACCORD), present the results of a comparison study of weight gain and BMI for HIV-infected and age-, sex-, and race-matched non-infected adults in North America between 1998 and 2010. The authors report a significantly higher median BMI after 3 years of ART for HIV-infected white women compared to age-matched, non-infected white women (but no significant difference for HIV-infected men or non-white women) in the article “Rising Obesity Prevalence and Weight Gain Among Adults Starting Antiretroviral Therapy in the United States and Canada.”

“This is an important piece of the puzzle in the ongoing effort to avoid health complications currently seen in aging HIV-infected populations in North America,” says Thomas Hope, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses and Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine (Chicago, IL).