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

Clin Infect Dis. 2006 Mar 15;42(6):836-42. doi: 10.1086/500398. Epub 2006 Feb 7.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active*
  • Basal Metabolism
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Wasting Syndrome / epidemiology
  • HIV Wasting Syndrome / etiology*
  • HIV Wasting Syndrome / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Weight Loss*