Question

I and my wife are both positive. I have consistently had viral load less than 12000 and CD4 lowest ever has been 360 since testing positive in 2003. My wife, who most likely got infected from me progressed faster and is on Truvada and sustiva while I am not yet in meds. Anyway the question I have is that despite having undetectable viral load and CD4 of 500 my wife seems to ail from all manner of things: back pains, body aches, headaches, extreme fatigue and ovarian cysts, among others. In the meantime she has continued to gain weight from 150lbs a year ago to 240lbs now despite reducing amount of food intake and mild exercising. Is there something I can help her do to deal with the weight gain issue as it seems to be one of her main worries at the moment? Your advice will be highly appreciated.

Answer

Hi,

Unfortunately I cannot diagnose the cause of your wife's weight gain over the Internet and without knowing the specific underlying cause(s) I cannot recommend specific treatment(s).

I would recommend you discuss this concern with your wife's HIV physician specialist. There are many potential causes for weight gain, ranging from hormonal issues (low thyroid hormone, hormonal problems linked to her ovarian cysts, etc.) to psychological issues (depression) to medication side effects. Certainly optimizing her diet/nutrition and exercising regularly are excellent first steps. However, with such a significant weight gain over a relatively short period of time, a through search for the underlying cause(s) is warranted.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob