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Although some scientists have questioned whether or not the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has actually been proven to cause AIDS,1, 2, 3 most researchers do believe that HIV causes AIDS.
AIDS is an extremely complex disorder, and no cure is currently available. Certain drugs appear to be capable of slowing the progression of the disease. In addition, various nutritional factors may be helpful. However, because of the complicated nature of this disorder, medical supervision is strongly recommended with regard to dietary changes and nutritional supplements. People who have been infected with HIV are hereafter referred to as “HIV-positive.”
HIV causes a broad spectrum of clinical problems, which often mimic other diseases. Within a few weeks of infection, some people may experience flu-like signs and symptoms, including fever, malaise, rash, joint pain, and generalized swelling of the lymph nodes. These acute manifestations usually disappear, and many people remain asymptomatic for long periods. AIDS, the clinical syndrome associated with HIV infection, produces symptoms throughout the body related to opportunistic infections, tumors, and other immune-deficiency complications.
Loss of strength and lean body mass are frequent complications in people with AIDS. Drug therapy with anabolic steroids is sometimes used to counteract these losses. Preliminary trials suggest that progressive resistance training (i.e., weight training) may be used as an alternative or adjunct to steroids in this disease. In a preliminary trial, people with HIV who did progressive resistance training three times per week for eight weeks had significant increases in their lean body mass.4 Exercise of any type three to four times per week or more has been associated with slower progression to AIDS at one year and with a slower progression to death from AIDS at one year in men.5
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2016.