HIV drugs lead to obesity and weight gain

Posted on February 7, 2016 12:44 am

A new study published in AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses has revealed that HIV-infected adults on antiretroviral therapy (ART) are at a major risk of obesity and weight gain. This may lead to further health complications as researchers discovered over a 12-year period. In their findings, the percentage of HIV-infected adults who were obese BMI>30 kg/m2 when they began antiretroviral therapy doubled.After 3 years of ART, 18 percent of adults who were overweight at initiation of therapy had become obese, and 22 percent of those with a normal BMI at initiation had become overweight, raising their risk of additional health complications.The results of the BMI and weight gain study were presented by John Koethe and co-authors, and they wrote on behalf of North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design (NA-ACCORD).Two groups were compared. One, the HIV-infected adults, and two, age, sex, and race-matched non-infected adults in North America. The data was taken from the period 1998 to 2010.

The authors report a significantly higher median BMI after 3 years of ART for HIV-infected white women compared to age-matched, non-infected white women but no significant difference for HIV-infected men or non-white women in the article “Rising Obesity Prevalence and Weight Gain Among Adults Starting Antiretroviral Therapy in the United States and Canada.””This is an important piece of the puzzle in the ongoing effort to avoid health complications currently seen in aging HIV-infected populations in North America,” says Thomas Hope, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses and Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine.The article reports a significantly higher median BMI for white women who are HIV-infected after three years of ART, compared to non-infected, age-matched white women.This new study is a reminder that time has come for radical solutions if obesity rates are not to cost the billions of dollars to the global economy in future.It is time to consider initiatives to avert a global’s health catastrophe.Before this new revelations, most of us knew that unhealthy food and the way we choose and consume our food was fundamental factor in affecting the growing problem of expanding waistlines across the world.

While most people ascribe personal willpower to lose weight as the solution to this problem, the fact is that there are many subconscious environmental and biological influences undermining people’s desire and determination to trim the fat, the inclusion of ARTs in the mix, will no doubt be a new headache for health experts.The obesity problem has become so worrisome that almost each country is looking at methods to help their citizens cut off those kilos for a number of years now.The food industry tends to always take the view that it is entirely up to individual choice but now i wonder if ART manufacturers will blame the patients.I think there is reasonably good evidence that yes, people choose, but people make their choices in a context.And obviously, context varies from place to place, household to household, family to family, country to country.Have argued before how the World’s most poorest continent is facing the challenge of obesity and since it accounts for more than half the world’s population living with HIV AIDS, the new study will not doubt throw the spanner in the works of health experts in a continent of more than 1 billion people.It is time to do away with outdated ideology that likes to portray obesity as lifestyle choices, as if people have total volition and they make choices to be active or inactive, and I’m not sure it is quite that simple.

Contador Harrison