Group-based Aerobic Exercise in HIV+ Patients: A Pilot Study


Lindsey, R., Shikuma, C., Chow D., Kocher, M., Kimura, I., University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, HI

Purpose: Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) minimizes Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) replication and improves immune function, which has reduced mortality rates and extended life expectancy. Though HAART significantly enhances the clinical outcome of HIV with increased survival rates, these favorable effects are limited by the development of metabolic disorders. Exercise has been recommended for HIV+ patients to control their disease as well as HAART side effects. Despite this recommendation, only 25 to 28.2% of HIV+ individuals engage in moderate physical activity. Compliance in group-based exercise programs has been shown to exceed individual-based, therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a group-based aerobic exercise program in HIV+ individuals. Methods: A pretest-posttest design was utilized to evaluate the effects of a 12 wk group-based aerobic exercise program on fitness level, lipid levels, insulin sensitivity, body composition, and quality of life in HIV+ individuals. The Physical Activity Group Environment Questionnaire (PAGEQ) was administered to obtain descriptive information. Participants were 18 sedentary HIV+ males between 32 and 59 years of age (mean 45 ± 6.34) on HAART. Results: Eighteen participants were enrolled; nine completed the exercise program and six were compliant, attending >70% of exercise sessions. Treatment effects over time were compared by paired t-tests. Significant improvements (p=0.03) in triglycerides and health transition scores (quality of life dimension) (p=0.02) were seen post intervention. Additionally, significant improvements in maximal oxygen consumption (p = 0.03) were revealed among the six compliant participants, an average increase of 15% (mean 29.52 ± 4.86 (mL/kg-1/min-1) at entry to 34.18 ± 8.12 (mL/kg-1/min-1) at 12 wks). Not surprisingly, compliant participants demonstrated higher levels of group cohesion for three of the four subscales in the PAGEQ than their non-compliant counterparts. Conclusion: A 12 wk group-based aerobic exercise program resulted in improvements in triglyceride levels and cardiorespiratory fitness among compliers and appears to be a viable option for HAART treated HIV+ individuals.

Research funded by the National Institute of Health (R01HL095135 and U54MD00)

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