The benefits of yoga for people living with HIV/AIDS: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2019 Feb:34:157-164. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.11.009. Epub 2018 Nov 8.


Background: People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) often experience psychological stress associated with disease management. This meta-analysis examines the benefits of yoga interventions on psychological distress among PLWHA.

Methods: Included were studies that (a) evaluated a yoga intervention in PLWHA; (b) provided between-group or within-group changes; and (c) assessed a psychological, physiological, or biomedical outcome.

Results: Seven studies sampling 396 PLWHA (M age = 42 years, SD = 5 years; 40% women) met inclusion criteria. PLWHA who received yoga interventions reported significant improvements in perceived stress (d+ = 0.80, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 0.53, 1.07), positive affect (d + = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.49, 0.98), and anxiety (d+ = 0.71, 95% CI = 0.27, 1.14) compared to controls.

Conclusion: Yoga is a promising intervention for stress management. However, the literature is limited by the small number of studies. Randomized controlled trials with objective measures of HIV-related outcomes are needed to further evaluate the benefits of yoga.

Keywords: HIV; Interventions; Meta-analysis; Stress management; Yoga.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / psychology
  • HIV Infections* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Yoga*