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Clin Infect Dis. 2006 Mar 15;42(6):836-42. Epub 2006 Feb 7.

Nutrition and HIV infection: review of weight loss and wasting in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy from the nutrition for healthy living cohort.

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  • 1Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.


Despite major advances in the treatment and survival of patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), weight loss and wasting remain common problems. In the HIV-infected population, weight loss is associated with lower CD4+ cell counts and is an independent predictor of mortality. The etiology of weight loss and wasting is complex and multifactorial. We discuss, on the basis of a large longitudinal cohort that examined nutritional status in HIV infection, data on weight loss and wasting from the present clinical era. The definition, prevalence, and significance of HIV-associated weight loss and wasting are summarized. The etiology of weight loss is discussed for 2 main categories: inadequate nutrient intake and altered metabolism. Finally, studies of interventions to treat HIV-associated weight loss and wasting are discussed. This information is intended to raise awareness among health care providers of HIV-infected patients that weight loss and wasting remain important acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-defining conditions, despite the advent of HAART.

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