Your body may change
Most people are concerned with how
they look. It isnt exactly a
secret that our society puts a lot
of stress on looking "beautiful".
At your age body image is important
to almost everyonewhether you
are HIV positive or not.
Even though everyone has a different
body, there is a lot of pressure to
look a certain way. Sometimes going
on medications can be scary because
it may affect the way your body looks
and feels. AIDS-Related Illnesses
and Opportunistic Infections can also
change the way your body looks and
Dont get freaked out! Talk to
other youth about how they keep fit
and look healthy. Also, talk to your
doctor about any concerns you have
with your body and figure out how
you can make some changes. You might
be able to change your meds or try
some different treatments. [Check
out the Good
Food Choices and Exercise
sections for more information on staying
Sometimes your body changes when you
are on HIV medication (meds).
One big body change issue that a lot
of people with HIV are concerned about
is Lipodystrophy, also called lipo.
"Lipodystrophy" is a big
word that is easier to understand
if it is broken down. "Lipo"
means fat and "dystrophy"
refers to abnormal growth or change.
Put it all together in plain English,
and what you're left with is exactly
what's being seen in a number of people
living with HIV: abnormal fat changes.
In reality, lipodystrophy refers to
a number of different problems. While
researchers and health care providers
have not yet officially defined lipodystrophy,
it generally refers to a build-up
Some people get a build-up and/or
loss of fat around their gut, and/or
on the back of their neck & shoulders
(sometimes called a "Buffalo
Hump"), and/or in their breasts.
Some people lose fat in their cheeks,
so their faces look hollowed out.
But, theres good news for youth
with HIV. Lipodystrophy seems to be
related to your age. The older you
are, the more likely you are to develop
lipo. The second factor is HIV meds.
The longer the time period you are
on HIV meds, the more likely you are
to develop lipo. If you are worried
that your meds are affecting what
your body looks like, here are a few
things you can think about:
- Know what meds you're taking
and what they can do to your body.
Some people take photos of themselves
before they start their meds so
they can show their doctors what
they looked like before and after.
With lipo, the changes begin very
subtly, and you may not be sure
that what you are seeing is really
a change in your body.
- Know about the possible side effects
your meds may cause.
- Talk with your doctor about the
side effects and how to cope with
them. You may want to talk about
whether you should stop or swtich