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HIV Body Shape Changes: What can you do?

for Veterans and the Public

What can you do?

Experts aren't sure whether these changes are due to HIV itself, or to the anti-HIV drugs. There are no proven cures at this time, but there are steps you can take to reduce the effects.

Plastic surgeons can use liposuction (sucking out the fat) on a buffalo hump. Liposuction, however, is not a good treatment for fat around the gut because of possible damage to the organs.

For fat loss in the face, doctors can inject fat or a fat-like substance to fill out sunken cheeks or other areas, such as around the eyes and mouth. In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Sculptra™, an injectable product that can replace fat lost from the face.

If you are experiencing any of these changes, be sure to talk to your health provider about them. Finding a solution to these body shape changes is a major research effort, and new therapies may become available in the future.