Factors of weight loss in patients with HIV and chronic diarrhea

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol. 1998 Sep 1;19(1):34-9. doi: 10.1097/00042560-199809010-00005.


Weight loss is significant in patients with HIV and chronic diarrhea. The aim of our study was to test for the links between weight loss, the level of food intake, and the severity of diarrhea and nutrient malabsorption. One hundred and sixteen patients with HIV and chronic diarrhea underwent a standardized gastrointestinal and nutritional evaluation, which included a questionnaire on diarrhea, a prospective estimation of food intake, a measurement of blood parameters and fecal lipid and nitrogen outputs, a stool examination for bacteria and parasites, and upper and lower digestive tract endoscopy. Diarrhea resulted from an infection by Cryptosporidia, Microsporida, or other pathogens in 22%, 20%, and 13% of the patients, respectively. Diarrhea appeared idiopathic in 45% of the patients. A significant negative correlation existed between the severity of weight loss and the levels of nutrient intake (p < .005), and a significant positive correlation between the severity of weight loss and stool frequency (p < .01). Multiple linear regression identified low caloric intake and high stool frequency as predictive of weight loss. No significant correlation was found between weight loss and the parameters of malabsorption, either by bivariate study or multiple regression. These results suggest that, in patients with HIV and chronic diarrhea, the degree of wasting is significantly related to the levels of dietary intake and the clinical severity of diarrhea, but not to the extent of nutrient malabsorption.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / complications
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / physiopathology
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cryptosporidiosis / complications
  • Cryptosporidiosis / physiopathology
  • Defecation
  • Diarrhea / complications*
  • Diarrhea / physiopathology
  • Eating
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology
  • HIV Wasting Syndrome / etiology*
  • HIV Wasting Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Microsporida
  • Microsporidiosis / complications
  • Microsporidiosis / physiopathology
  • Nutritional Status
  • Serum Albumin / analysis
  • Weight Loss*


  • Serum Albumin