By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com May 22 2003 12:00 AM ET
Although strictly adhering to an anti-HIV drug regimen is essential for combating HIV infection--a recent study showed that 95% adherence is required to prevent the development of drug resistance--it also significantly boosts an HIV-positive person's chances of developing lipodystrophy, according to a study in the journal HIV Clinical Trials, AIDSmap.com reports. Italian researchers followed 175 patients taking anti-HIV drugs through eight treatment centers. They found that the longer people took the anti-HIV drugs and the better they reported sticking to their regimens, the higher their risk was for the development of lipodystrophy. Adherent patients were shown to be twice as likely to develop lipodystrophy as nonadherent patients. The study also showed that women and older patients were more likely to develop lipodystrophy than men and younger study participants. Having a low HIV viral load also was linked with lipodystrophy, but the researchers said this was likely due to the fact that strict adherence to an anti-HIV drug regimen was keeping the virus in check. Follow-up studies are planned.