The association of self-perception of body fat changes and quality of life in the Women's Interagency HIV Study
Abstract Body fat changes are of concern to HIV-seropositive adults on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Studies examining the association of body fat changes and quality of life (QOL) in the setting of HIV infection have been conducted predominately in men. We examined the relationship of self-perceived body fat change with QOL among 1671 HAART-using HIV-seropositive women (mean age 40±8 years; 54% African-American, 24% reporting <95% HAART adherence) from the Women's Interagency HIV Study. Self-perception of any fat loss was associated with lower overall QOL. Report of any peripheral fat loss was strongly associated with nearly all QOL domains (i.e., physical functioning, role functioning, energy/fatigue, social functioning, pain, emotional well-being, health perception, and perceived health index) except cognitive functioning, whereas report of any central fat loss was significantly associated with lower social and cognitive functioning. Report of any central fat gain was associated with lower overall QOL, but only physical functioning, energy/fatigue, and cognitive functioning were significantly affected. A significant association of report of any peripheral fat gain with overall QOL was not observed, however, peripheral fat gain was significantly associated with lower physical functioning and pain. We found that any report of fat loss, especially in peripheral body sites was associated with lower QOL, as was any report of central fat gain. Ultimately health providers and patients need to be informed of these associations so as to better support HIV-seropositive women who live with these effects.