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HIV Body shape changes

for Veterans and the Public

Body shape changes

People who are taking HIV medicines and living longer sometimes experience visible changes in body shape and appearance. This condition is called lipodystrophy (pronounced "li-po-dis-tro-fee"). "Lipo" means fat, "dystrophy" means abnormal growth or change. So, lipodystrophy means abnormal changes in fat. These changes can be caused by HIV itself or by HIV medications.

These changes were much more common with older HIV medications. Current HIV medicines are much less likely to cause body changes and many people experience no body changes at all.

Possible changes in body appearance:
  • increased fat in the belly
  • increased fat in neck, shoulders, breasts, or face
  • fatty bumps on the body
  • loss of fat in the face, legs, or arms