Aerobic exercise for people with HIV/AIDS

Evidence Summaries

Level of Evidence = C
Aerobic exercise appears to be safe and may be able to improve fitness and wellbeing for adults living with HIV/AIDS.

A Cochrane review 1 included 14 studies with a total of 718 subjects. Performing constant or interval aerobic exercise, or a combination of constant aerobic exercise and progressive resistive exercise for at least 20 minutes, at least three times per week for at least five weeks appears to be safe and may lead to significant improvements in selected outcomes of cardiopulmonary fitness (maximum oxygen consumption), body composition (leg muscle area, percent body fat), and psychological status (depression-dejection symptoms). These findings are limited to participants who continued to exercise and for whom there were adequate follow-up data.

Comment: The quality of evidence is downgraded by sparse data and study limitations (more than 20% loss to follow up).


1. O'Brien K, Nixon S, Tynan AM, Glazier R. Aerobic exercise interventions for adults living with HIV/AIDS. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2010;(8):CD001796.  [PMID:20687068]
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