Hard Belly is a common issue for people with HIV

When HIV is under control, you can focus on healthy aging. But for many people living with HIV, Hard Belly is a hard fat that may be hard on their health.

Hard Belly is a different kind of fat and it can have many different names, such as, excess hard abdominal fat, hard belly fat, lipodystrophy, visceral adipose tissue, visceral adiposity, etc. But no matter what it’s called, Hard Belly is not “regular” fat.

Even people living with HIV who exercise regularly and have a healthy diet may develop Hard Belly. It’s not entirely clear why some people with HIV are likely to have Hard Belly (excess hard abdominal fat). However, research shows that Hard Belly (excess hard abdominal fat) may be linked to:

  • Anti-retroviral therapy (ART)
  • HIV itself

If you have Hard Belly, you shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. But you should talk to your healthcare provider if you are feeling this way and have other negative feelings or experiences related to Hard Belly. You should try and make sure your healthcare provider understands how you are feeling. After all you’re not alone: up to half of all people who are treated for HIV have body fat changes, including Hard Belly. Identifying these body fat-related changes is an important first step to help manage them.

Information on healthy living

Healthy Aging with HIV

When HIV is under control, you can focus on healthy aging.

Find out how you can lead a healthier lifestyle.

Topics on hard belly to discuss with your HCP

Preparing for your next office visit

If you take ART for HIV and think you have Hard Belly, it is important to continue your therapy as prescribed and talk to your healthcare provider. Topics you may want to be ready to discuss include:

  • Your medical history, including all medications you have taken/are taking
  • Your body measurements
  • Your diet and how much you exercise
  • Any physical changes, especially increased hardness or firmness around your stomach
  • Any problems with simple tasks such as bending down to pick up something or tying your shoelaces
  • Any negative experiences or feelings related to Hard Belly. You should try and make sure your healthcare provider understands how you are feeling.
  • Strategies for managing Hard Belly

Look Deeper

What is Hard Belly?