Slim disease: a new disease in Uganda and its association with HTLV-III infection

Lancet. 1985 Oct 19;2(8460):849-52. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(85)90122-9.


A new disease has recently been recognised in rural Uganda. Because the major symptoms are weight loss and diarrhoea, it is known locally as slim disease. It is strongly associated with HTLV-III infection (63 out of 71 patients) and affects females nearly as frequently as males. The clinical features are similar to those of enteropathic acquired immunodeficiency syndrome as seen in neighbouring Zaire. However, the syndrome is rarely associated with Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), although KS is endemic in this area of Uganda. Slim disease occurs predominantly in the heterosexually promiscuous population and there is no clear evidence to implicate other possible means of transmission, such as by insect vectors or re-used injection needles. The site and timing of the first reported cases suggest that the disease arose in Tanzania.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Deltaretrovirus / immunology
  • Diarrhea / complications
  • Disease Outbreaks / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retroviridae Infections / complications
  • Retroviridae Infections / diagnosis*
  • Retroviridae Infections / immunology
  • Syndrome
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda


  • Antibodies, Viral