Weight loss

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Loss of weight either suddenly, over a short period of time or progressively over many months is a common problem and of particular concern in persons with symptomatic HIV disease.


Opportunistic infections (especially MAI), diarrhoea, anorexia, mouth problems, depression and anxiety can all contribute. A more specific cause is the direct effect of HIV on the gut and increased energy requirements needed by the body to fight infection.

What to do

Dealing with or preventing weight loss is an important aspect of general treatment of HIV disease. Specific problems such as diarrhoea, acute and chronic infections and nausea should be investigated and treated. Medical advice and help from a dietician should be sought and supplementary measures such as high calorie drinks, vitamins and appetite stimulants may be of help.

Also see Diarrhoea and Anorexia in A to Z of symptoms and Wasting syndrome in A to Z of illnesses.

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.