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fat pocket on thigh
May 21, 2001

My partner has developed a painless fat lump/pocket about half the size of my palm on his upper thigh. Is this also lipodystrophy?

He is Asian, has been HIV+ for about 3 1/2 years, and has been on 3TC, AZT and Viracept for about 3 years. Viral load is undetectable and CD4 750-800.

His doctor has suggested changing the Viracept to Sustiva. Will that help with this fatty lump on his thigh?

Outside the U.S., information in English is limited so I'm especially grateful for your response.

Response from Dr. Henry

Isolated fatty deposits have not been a frequent manifestation of the lipodystrophy syndrome. I have seen and heard of a few cases where scattered fatty deposits developed. Lipomas are non-cancerous fatty deposits that occur in the general population. Other conditions can mimic fatty deposits so I would recommend a careful exam by an HIV specialist and/or a skin specialist. Switching to Sustiva from a protease inhibitor has not generally resulted in improvements in fat distribution in the short-term (6-12 months). The problem of fatty deposits is a vexing one with many questions and few firm answers as of this time. KH

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