Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the changes in body fat distribution and lipid abnormalities in a population of HIV-infected children and adolescents followed in one single centre who had been exposed, or not, to antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Materials and methods: Patients aged between 3 and 19 years were evaluated in a cross-sectional study carried out between October and December 2002. Fat redistribution was evaluated independently by the physician and the patient. Fasting blood lipid profile, glucose, insulin and C peptide were measured. Among the 88 patients evaluated, 74 were taking ART.
Results: Fat redistribution was present in 20 patients, metabolic alterations alone were found in 22 children and 46 children had neither physical nor metabolic abnormalities. Patients with fat redistribution were found to have been on ART for a significantly longer period of time, with 42% of the children showing fat redistribution having been treated with antiretroviral agents for more than 5 years. These children had also been exposed to a higher number of antiretroviral agents. In contrast, metabolic alterations in the absence of fat redistribution were not related to the duration of ART nor to the number of drugs received. Treatment with stavudine or protease inhibitors was significantly associated with the presence of physical changes.
Conclusion: Regular assessment of fat redistribution and metabolic markers should be carried out in children treated with antiretroviral agents and taken into account when adapting therapy during the long-term follow up of these children.