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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Fat redistribution
May 31, 2006

I have been hiv+ since 1993 but didn't start meds until 1995. My meds were Crixivan,zerit an epivir. My viral load went from 885,000 to undectable <50. Thru the years i been doing great and still am but i"ve noticed how skinny my arms and legs have gotten. Nine years later my doctor tells me that crixivan can do this. Due to insurance changes i now have a new doctor who has changed my meds to Norvir,reyataz and epzicom and my viral load is <400 as of 5/26/06. I feel good physically but mentally this fat at my neck,abdomen and BREAST area are diving me crazy. I was told that these new meds won't affect me pyhsically but i feel i've gained more weight(a bra pretty soon). I eat well and do some exercise but this fat seems out of control. My friends and co-workers tell me how different i look but they have no idea what i'm going through. My doctor now tells me i have the feared Buffalo Hump, small, but oh so noticeable to me. Are there any meds out thier that wont affect wieght SO MUCH and can or will i get somewhat of a normal body back before i turn into a Buffalo!?

Response from Dr. Henry

Your current regimen may slow down the problem but it is unclear to me whether the fat would actually decrease. Exercise and diet may help some patients modestly. Growth hormone and growth hormone releasing factor are under evaluation for treatment of HIV-related fat increases (those treatments have to be injected and or either costly or investigational and need to be further studied for safety and efficacy). The problem is getting lots of attention these days so hopefully better interventions can be developed in the future based on a better scientific understanding of the nature of the problem. Very frustrating for sure. KH

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