HIV-associated lipodystrophy: pathogenesis, prognosis, treatment, and controversies

Annu Rev Med. 2004:55:303-17. doi: 10.1146/


Potent antiretroviral agents markedly suppress HIV and have dramatically improved the clinical course, prognosis, and survival of HIV-infected patients. Unfortunately, highly active antiretroviral therapy is often compromised by metabolic complications, including insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and fat redistribution. Together these changes have been termed the HIV-lipodystrophy syndrome, which is estimated to affect a majority of patients treated with potent combination antiretroviral therapy. Routine testing of fasting glucose is recommended for all HIV-infected patients, particularly those who are obese, have a family history of diabetes mellitus, or are receiving protease inhibitor therapy. Preliminary investigations have demonstrated the potential utility of insulin-sensitizing agents and lipid-lowering therapies to ameliorate these metabolic disturbances. Patients with HIV infection who demonstrate fat redistribution and develop hyperinsulinemia and dyslipidemia may be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the long-term effects on cardiovascular disease have not yet been determined.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Syndrome / etiology*
  • HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Syndrome / metabolism
  • HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Syndrome / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis