Background: Weight gain is a recognised effect of HAART which occur through restoration of the bodys immune function and lipodystrophy. Weight gain could have a negative impact on the medical and social wellbeing of the persons affected. Most HIV studies in Nigeria tend to concentrate on the effect of HAART on viral suppression and improvement in quality of life neglecting other consequences of the disease and treatment. We aimed to determine the prevalence of obesity among HIV patients, and to compare between HAART-exposed and HAART-naïve participants.
Methods: HIV positive patients attending the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital HIV clinic were evaluated. Their anthropometric indices were determined and BMI calculated using the Quetelets equation.
Results: A total of 300 HIV seropositive patients (150 HAART exposed and 150 HAART naïve) were assessed. The mean±S.D. age of the study participants was 34.8±9.9 years with a male:female ratio of 1:2. Mean±S.D. BMI of the HAART-exposed and HAART-naïve participants was 24.0±6.0 kg/m2 and 22.0±5.6 kg/m2 respectively, (P=0.001). The prevalence of obesity among all the participants is 11.7%. Among the HAART exposed participants, 23 (15.3%) were obese, 25 (16.7%) overweight, 83 (55.3%) normal weight and 19 (12.7%) underweight. In the HAART-naïve group, 12 (8.0%) were obese, 21 (14.0%) overweight, 71 (47.3%) normal weight and 46 (30.7%) underweight. Exposure to HAART was found to be significantly associated with the development of obesity, P=0.04. Other factors that were found to be associated with obesity include longer duration of HIV infection, raised CD4 cell count, increased waist circumference and family history of diabetes mellitus (P<0.05). Abdominal obesity from lipodystrophy appeared to be an independent predictor of obesity.
Conclusion: Prolonged HIV infection and HAART-exposure are associated with increase in BMI and development of obesity which could have both negative social and cardio-metabolic consequences on the patients affected.