Fat distribution in HIV-infected women in the United States: DEXA substudy in the women's interagency HIV study

Kathleen Mulligan, Kathryn Anastos, Jessica Justman, Ruth Freeman, Paula Wichienkuer, Esther Robison, Nancy A. Hessol

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39 Scopus citations


Surveys in HIV-infected men on antiretroviral therapy (ART) consistently demonstrate decreased levels of peripheral fat, with variable effects on central fat. This substudy of the Women's Interagency HIV Study was undertaken to examine fat distribution in a well-characterized cohort of HIV-positive and HIV-negative women in the United States. Whole-body dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scanning with standardized regional analysis was performed in 271 nonpregnant women. Results were compared in the following groups: HIV negative (n = 88); and HIV positive on no ART (n = 70), highly active ART with a protease inhibitor (HAART/PI) (n = 48), or non-PI-containing HAART (n = 53). The groups were well matched with respect to race, with the majority of women coming from racial/ethnic minorities. The majority of both HIV-positive and HIV-negative women were overweight (body mass index [BMI] ≥25 kg/m2), and many were obese (BMI >30 kg/m2). Leg fat in both groups on HAART was significantly lower than in HIV-negative women (P = 0.01 and <0.0001 vs. HIV-negative for HAART/PI and HAART/no PI, respectively), whereas trunk fat was lower only in HAART/no PI (P = 0.0004 vs. HIV-negative). Thus, consistent with reports in men, lower levels of peripheral (leg) fat are seen in HIV-infected women on HAART, despite the high prevalence of obesity in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-22
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005


  • Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry
  • Fat distribution
  • Lipodystrophy
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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