HIV Lipoatrophy Overview

HIV Lipoatrophy Overview

HIV Lipoatrophy (aka Facial Wasting) refers to an abnormal loss of body fat (Lipodystrophy), most notably the fat immediately beneath the skin, the subcutaneous fat. Lipoatrophy is most prominent in the face, but it can also occur in the arms, legs, buttocks, and around the waist.

One of the most recognizable features of lipoatrophy is sunken cheeks that have lost their fullness and appear hollow. Mild lipoatrophy may be barely noticeable to the person experiencing it and unnoticeable to other people. If the lipoatrophy worsens, the outlines of the facial muscles can be seen through the skin.  This gives many HIV Patients a ghost-like and aged appearance that feels like a dead giveaway that they have HIV.  The consequences can be devastating to a person’s self esteem.  Many people do not leave their home, and avoid social situations.

HIV Lipoatrophy - 4 Stages

normal face


mild lipoatrophy


moderate lipoatrophy


severe lipoatrophy


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