Is there a chance to improve the quality of life of adults infected with HIV?

Scientists from University of Toronto in Canada conducted a systematic review of the studies which evaluated the impact of regular training for adults infected with HIV. The article published in April 2016 has been created by using Cochrane Collaboration protocol.

Despite the consequences of infection with human immunodeficiency virus, an increased incidence of other disease entities, aging and adverse effects of treatment, and many complications, the life expectancy of people infected with HIV is lengthened. Exercises are a strategy which can improve the quality of life of people living with HIV.

Twenty-four randomized clinical trials have been included in the study in which the main issue was to compare aerobic exercise to lack of training. All participants were adults infected with HIV. Each of them had to exercise for at least 20 minutes, minimum three times a week for at least four weeks. The examples of exercises were: walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, rowing and walking up the stairs.

In total, the study takes account of the results of 936 patients. The participants, both men and women which number is approximately 27%. And the average age of participants, in the included studies, ranged from 30 to 49 years.

During studies number of CD4 cells/mm3 and viral load were tested. Other controlled parameters were maximal oxygen consumption, exercise time, maximum heart rate, oxygen pulse, maximal tidal volume, maximum work rate, minute ventilation. They measured also body weight, lean body mass, body mass index and percent body fat.

Main results showed a statistically significant improvements in the body strength, body composition, reduce symptoms of depression and improve quality of life in group of patients who do exercises. However, the important changes in CD4 count or viral load were not found.

To conclude, the studies have shown that performing aerobic exercise, three times a week for at least five weeks appears to safe and they may lead to a significant improvement in cardiorespiratory parameters, physical strength, reduce body fat, increase muscle mass, get better with mental condition by improving the quality of life and reduce symptoms of depression and despondency. Aerobic exercises are safe and beneficial for medically stable adults living with HIV.

Written by: Dominika Guz

1. O’Brien K., Tynan A.-M., Nixon S. A. and Glazier R. H. Effectiveness of aerobic exercise for adults living with HIV: systematic review and meta-analysis using the Cochrane Collaboration protocol. BMC Infectious DiseasesBMC series – open, inclusive and trusted2016Published: 26 April 2016. DOI: 10.1186/s12879-016-1478-2.
2. O’Brien K., Tynan A.-M., Nixon S. A. and Glazier R. H. Effects of progressive resistive exercise in adults living with HIV/AIDS: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. AIDS Care 2008, Volume 20: 631-653.

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