September 9, 2017
This article originally appeared on The Body.
This week, a study finds that increased muscle area after starting HIV treatment may be due to fat accumulation within the muscle rather than new muscle formation. Another study finds that greater social network clustering among people who inject drugs in the Philippines may contribute to the higher rates of HIV transmission. And partners of people newly diagnosed with HIV were more likely to get tested after receiving assisted partner notifications compared to passive testing referrals. To beat HIV, you have to follow the science!
The previously-established increase in muscle area after starting antiretroviral therapy is more likely due to greater fat accumulation within the muscle than actual muscle forming, researchers reported in AIDS.
The researchers analyzed computed tomography scans of trunk muscles in people participating in a clinical trial of HIV medications. Most of the 235 participants in this study were men, and almost a third were African American. All had never taken antiretrovirals before. Over 96 weeks of therapy, total muscle area increased slightly, but the lean muscle component of that area did not. Overall muscle density decreased, in fact. Study authors therefore concluded that the increase in muscle area was driven by greater fat content in the muscles.