<i>"It's only fatness, it doesn't kill"</i>: a qualitative study on perceptions of weight gain from use of dolutegravir-based regimens in women living with HIV in Uganda

Alhassan, Yussif, Twimukye, Adelline, Malaba, Thokozile, Myer, Landon, Waitt, Catriona ORCID: 0000-0003-0134-5855, Lamorde, Mohammed, Colbers, Angela, Reynolds, Helen ORCID: 0000-0001-7443-4520, Khoo, Saye ORCID: 0000-0002-2769-0967 and Taegtmeyer, Miriam
(2022) <i>"It's only fatness, it doesn't kill"</i>: a qualitative study on perceptions of weight gain from use of dolutegravir-based regimens in women living with HIV in Uganda. BMC WOMENS HEALTH, 22 (1). 246-.

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<h4>Background</h4>Dolutegravir (DTG)-based regimens have been recommended by the WHO as the preferred first-line and second-line HIV treatment in all populations. Evidence suggests an association with weight gain, particularly among black women. Our study investigated perceptions of weight gain from DTG-based regimen use on body image and adherence of antiretroviral therapy in women living with HIV (WLHIV) in Uganda.<h4>Methods</h4>Between April and June 2021, we conducted semi-structured interviews involving 25 WLHIV (adolescents, women of reproductive potential and post-menopausal women) and 19 healthcare professionals (clinicians, nurses, ART managers and counsellors) purposively selected from HIV clinics in Kampala. The interviews explored perceptions of body weight and image; experiences and management of weight related side effects associated with DTG; and knowledge and communication of DTG-related risks. Data was analysed thematically in NVivo 12 software.<h4>Results</h4>Our findings indicate WLHIV in Uganda commonly disliked thin body size and aspired to gain moderate to high level body weight to improve their body image, social standing and hide their sero-positive status. Both WLHIV and healthcare professionals widely associated weight gain with DTG use, although it was rarely perceived as an adverse event and was unlikely to be reported or to alter medication adherence. Clinical management and pharmacovigilance of DTG-related weight gain were hampered by the limited knowledge of WLHIV of the health risks of being over-weight and obesity; lack of diagnostic equipment and resources; and limited clinical guidance for managing weight gain and associated cardiovascular and metabolic comorbidities.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The study highlights the significance of large body-size in promoting psychosocial wellbeing in WLHIV in Uganda. Although weight gain is recognized as a side effect of DTG, it may be welcomed by some WLHIV. Healthcare professionals should actively talk about and monitor for weight gain and occurrence of associated comorbidities to facilitate timely interventions. Improved supply of diagnostic equipment and support with sufficient guidance for managing weight gain for healthcare professionals in Uganda are recommended.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dolutegravir, Weight gain, Body image, Women, HIV, Uganda
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2022 09:39
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2023 15:32
DOI: 10.1186/s12905-022-01814-x
Open Access URL: https://rdcu.be/cQjku
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3157107