Longitudinal anthropometric patterns among HIV-infected and HIV- uninfected women


Previous studies suggest that HIV infection, antiretroviral therapy, or both may affect body fat distribution, especially waist and hip size. In women, the waist is typically smaller than the hips, resulting in a waist-to-hip ratio of less than one. Larger waist size and larger waist-to-hip ratio may be related to future risk of heart disease. This study looks at the patterns in waist and hip size, as well as weight, among women in WIHS over a five year period. We found that HIV-uninfected women’s waist and hip size and their weight increased steadily over five years, while the HIV-infected women’s waist and hip size, and weight stayed the same. We also found that although HIV-infected women had smaller waist and hip size than the HIV-uninfected women, HIV-infected women had a larger waist-to-hip ratio. Among the HIV-infected women, waist-to-hip ratio was larger among white women and if Hepatitis C virus infection was present, but waist-to-hip ratio was not affected by the use of antiretroviral medications. Since HIV-infected women have smaller waists but disproportionately large waist-to-hip ratios, their risk of future heart disease is not clear. HIV infected women should therefore be monitored regularly for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and those conditions should be treated if present.


Justman JE, Hoover DR, Shi Q, Tan T, Anastos K, Tien PC, Cole SR, Hyman C, Karim R, Weber K and Grinspoon S. Longitudinal anthropometric patterns among HIV-infected and HIVuninfected women. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2008;47:312-319.