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HIV lipodystrophy: Prevalence, severity and correlates of risk in Australia

Miller, J., Carr, A., Emery, S., Law, M., Mallal, S., Baker, D., Smith, D., Kaldor, J. and Cooper, D.A. (2003) HIV lipodystrophy: Prevalence, severity and correlates of risk in Australia. HIV Medicine, 4 (3). pp. 293-301.

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To establish the prevalence, severity and factors associated with the HIV lipodystrophy syndrome.

Cross-sectional study of lipodystrophy conducted in high HIV caseload primary care sites and HIV outpatient clinics. A subset of patients was examined using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and single cut abdominal computerized tomography (CT) at the L4 vertebral level to quantify regional and total body fat. Factors associated with lipodystrophy, lipoatrophy and lipohypertrophy were assessed using multiple logistic regression based on assignment of cases and non-cases.

One thousand, three hundred and forty-eight patients (95% male) were surveyed, 20% had AIDS, the mean CD4 lymphocyte count was 486 cells/μL, and 55% had <500 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL. Most participants (87%) had previously received or were currently receiving combination antiretroviral therapy, 73% with at least one protease inhibitor (PI) and 14% a non-PI-containing regimen. Lipodystrophy prevalence was 53% and of these, 55% reported both peripheral lipoatrophy and central lipohypertrophy, 31% experienced peripheral lipoatrophy only and 14% had central lipohypertrophy only. The prevalence of any body habitus change was 62% in PI-experienced patients, 33% in PI-naive patients and 21% in antiretroviral-naive patients. Lipodystrophy severity was less in antiretroviral-naive patients and most severe in PI-experienced patients. Increasing severity of lipodystrophy was both positively and significantly correlated with elevated liver enzymes, decreased testosterone levels, decreased skin-fold thickness, lower levels of total and peripheral fat (DEXA) and higher levels of visceral fat (CT). Lipodystrophy was also significantly associated with increasing age, symptomatic HIV disease, effective viral suppression, and increasing duration of therapy with both nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and PIs.

The prevalence and severity of lipodystrophy reflects both length and type of treatment with antiretroviral therapy and is associated with decreased testosterone, increases in liver enzymes and greater suppression of HIV RNA. The reports of lipodystrophy in a small percentage of antiretroviral-naive patients suggests that factors other than antiretroviral therapy may be involved in the aetiology of this syndrome or that some conditions, such as wasting or age-associated obesity, may mimic lipoatrophy and lipohypertrophy, respectively.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Clinical Immunology and Biomedical Statistics
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Copyright: 2003 British HIV Association
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