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Aerobic Exercise is Safe for HIV+ Patients

Baigis J, Korniewicz DM, Chase G, Butz A, Jacobson D, Wu AW. Effectiveness of a home-based exercise intervention for HIV-infected adults: a randomized trial. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. 2002;13:33-45.

For the more than 400,000 people in the United States living with HIV infection, decreased endurance and physical functioning can limit their quality of life. Exercise has been shown to benefit sufferers of some chronic health conditions, yet it can also be contraindicated in some cases of illness or chronic infection. Researchers tested an exercise intervention course in 52 individuals with confirmed HIV infection but no AIDS-defining symptoms. The intervention consisted of 3 in-home 20-minute workouts per week on a fitness ski machine over a 15-week period, with each session monitored by a nurse/exercise trainer. Participants also kept a daily diary to record their mood and energy levels and any additional exercise they completed. At baseline, and again at 8 and 15 weeks, the participants had blood drawn for CD4+ counts, answered 3 different quality-of-life questionnaires, and underwent a treadmill endurance test. By the end of the intervention, those in the exercise intervention maintained their endurance at baseline levels and showed a slight improvement in health-related quality of life. CD4+ counts remained stable. Exercise appears to be safe for HIV+ patients and can help them maintain their endurance and physical functioning.