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Dr. Bhuvaneswari B., M.D*, Dr. Shanthi M., M.D, Dr. Thaivanai V., M.D, Dr. Parameswari R., M.D, Dr. Gowri Thilagam T., MD.


Objective: This study was done to compare the weight gain and its association with immunological response in patients taking Highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) at a tertiary care hospital in South India. Methodology: A retrospective analysis with 6 months follow up was done among 342 patients who were initiated on antiretroviral therapy from January 2011 to March 2012. They were evaluated for weight gain and immunological responses to first line HAART. Results: The results showed that out of 342 patients analyzed 57.02 % were males and the rest were females. 72.78% of females were less than 40 years and majority of males belonged to 30- 50 years (75.89%). Majority of males were in zidovudine based regimen (p<0.001). 41.22% of patients had BMI<18.5, 8.1% of the patients were overweight (BMI>25) and rest had normal BMI at initiation of HAART. Stavudine containing regimes with both nevirapine and efavirenz showed significant weight gain at 6 months of HAART (p< 0.01 & <0.05) compared to zidovudine. Patients with BMI<18.5 had low values of CD4 counts initially (p<0.01) and continued to do so at the end of six months (p< 0.05) compared to their normal counterparts. Conclusions: This study showed that weight gain with stavudine based HAART was significantly higher. Initial CD4 counts and immunological responses were better in patients with normal BMI. Hence despite the declining enthusiasm with stavudine due to its metabolic abnormalities, drugs with weight gain and lesser side effects must be promoted in HAART for better immunological responses.

Keywords: HAART, weight gain, immunological responses, BMI.

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