Body habitus in a cohort of HIV-seropositive and HIV-seronegative injection drug users

Ellen Smit, Richard D. Semba, Erin Pilibosian, David Vlahov, Waimar Tun, Lisa Purvis, Alice M. Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We determined anthropometric measurements (including height, weight, circumferences, and skinfolds) and self-reported symptoms related to body habitus changes in 324 HIV-seropositive and HIV-seronegative inner city injection drug users (IDUs) who participated in a sub-study from the ALIVE (AIDS Linked to Intravenous Experiences) cohort. Participants who reported lipoatrophy in body parts had consistently lower anthropometric measurements and those reporting adiposity had correspondingly higher anthropometric measurements than participants who did not report these changes. Peripheral lipoatrophy was more common among all HIV-seropositive than HIV-seronegative participants, however, it was not associated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) (39% HIV-seronegatives; 58% HIV-seropositive not receiving HIV treatment [No Tx]; 49% HAART, p = 0.04). Central adiposity was more common among HAART (52%) than No Tx (26.6%) and HIV-seronegative (42%) participants (p = 0.001). However, waist circumference, while somewhat higher among HAART than No Tx participants, did not differ significantly from HIV-seronegative participants (85.2 cm HIV-seronegatives; 83.3 cm No Tx; 85.8 cm HAART). A large proportion of those who reported peripheral lipoatrophy also reported central lipoatrophy (76.9% HIV-seronegatives; 69.6% No Tx; 66.2% HAART). A large proportion of those who reported central adiposity also reported adiposity of the peripheral sites (88.1% HIV seronegatives; 66.7% No Tx; 74.3% HAART). The combination of lipoatrophy and adiposity was associated with HAART treatment (6% HIV-seronegatives; 3% No Tx; 16% HAART, p = 0.002), but may be driven by the association with adiposity. These data suggest validity of self-reports for body habitus changes among injection drug users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
JournalAIDS patient care and STDs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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