Question: What is the effect of a six-month, supervised, aerobic and resistance exercise program on self-efficacy in men living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)?
Design: Randomised, controlled trial.
Participants: 40 (5 dropouts) men living with HIV, aged 18 years or older.
Intervention: The experimental group participated in a twice-weekly supervised aerobic and resistance exercise program for six months and the control group participated in a twice-weekly unsupervised walking program and attended a monthly group forum.
Outcome measures: The primary outcome measure was self-efficacy using the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Secondary outcome measures were cardiovascular fitness using the Kasch Pulse Recovery test, and health-related quality of life using the Medical Outcomes Study HIV Health Survey. Measures were taken by an assessor blinded to group allocation.
Results: By six months, the experimental group had improved their self-efficacy by 6.8 points (95% CI 3.9 to 9.7, p < 0.001) and improved their cardiovascular fitness by reducing their heart rate by 20.2 bpm (95% CI -25.8 to -14.6, p < 0.001) more than the control group. Health-related quality of life improved in only two out of the eleven dimensions: the experimental group improved their overall health by 20.8 points (95% CI 2.0 to 39.7, p = 0.03) and their cognitive function by 14 points (95% CI 0.7 to 27.3, p = 0.04) more than the control group.
Conclusion: The findings of this study add to the known benefits of exercise for the HIV-infected population.