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WEIGHT GAIN a good or bad thing
Oct 4, 2006


Prior to falling ill and diagnosis I weighed approx. 168 pounds. When I fell ill I lost approx. 40 pounds. That was back in Feb 2006. I started on Truvada and Sustiva in March and have gained the 40 pounds back plus about another 7. Plus it all seems to be pretty evenly distributed - over my face, arms, legs, bum and of course stomach.

Don t get me wrong I am pleased with this, but do I need to keep a check on my weight now and is it likely to continue to rise or is better to be slightly overweight, just in case as my nurse seemed to imply when I asked her.

And which of the drugs is causing this or is it just due to me being well again i.e. improving CD4, VL now <50. And what is it that actually causes the weight loss in the beginning. It seemed to creep up on me without me noticing and it was actually other people who noticed first.

These may seem trivial questions but I m just very curious.

I m 38 and 5'10" by the way.

Response from Dr. Henry

Chronic illness like HIV can cause weight loss in some patients due to a variety of factors which can include decreased appetite, increased metabolism due to immune activation, malabsorption, and gut dysfunction due to a variety of associated infections. Many HIV+ patients can weight after starting effective antiretroviral therapy. Weight can if often mostly fat and can be differentially distributed. For some HIV regimens the initial weight gain (which often is a good thing) can be followed by further weight gain or a shift in fat distribution which can become a problem. Weight gain is a common problem in the general population in the US so it can be a challenge to sort out the effect of HIV meds, HIV itself, or diet/issues related to stress and exercise habits. Your HIV regimen is often linked to initial weight gain and then the evolution can be variable but fat loss (which is a problem for some patients and regimens) has not been a feature of Sustiva/Truvada therapy. KH

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