Dr. Stephen Grinspoon, Professor at Harvard Medical School and the Director of a Program in Nutritional Metabolism at Massachusetts General Hospital, was of the first researchers that presented data on a syndrome that we later called HIV lipodystrophy.
"It's not one particular syndrome," explains Dr. Grinspoon, regarding the pernicious body changes that can still affect long-term survivors of HIV and others. "There's different degrees of gaining abdominal fat and loss of subcutaneous fat. They don't always occur simultaneously, but in general the gain of abdominal fat is visceral (inside organ cavity) in nature so people gain abdominal visceral fat and lose subcutaneous fat both in the abdomen and extremities. We really refer to patients primarily as having lipohypertrophic or more of the abdominal type, or lipoatrophic more the fat loss type, or a combined type."
Watch TheBody.com's HIV and Aging Expert Nelson Vergel interview Dr. Grinspoon about the causes of body shape changes in HIV -- and most importantly, what you can do about them: