AIDS and Male Hormones

Identifying and treating testosterone deficiency in AIDS patients can combat the wasting syndrome associated with the disease and significantly improve overall quality of life.

A team of investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital screened a group of male AIDS patients for testosterone deficiency.1 Individuals identified with low levels of the natural anabolic hormone were divided into two groups: one receiving testosterone replacement therapy and the other group receiving a placebo.

After 6 months, testosterone levels of the group receiving treatment rose significantly, accompanied by notable increase in lean body mass. This was a critical finding because increased lean body mass in AIDS patients is associated with higher survival rates, yet current therapies designed to prevent AIDS wasting syndrome by promoting lean body mass have generally not been successful. In addition, AIDS patients who received treatment for testosterone deficiency in this study reported improved well-being, appearance, and overall quality of life compared to those in the control group. No side-effects were reported. Researchers concluded that men with AIDS wasting syndrome may benefit from screening for androgen deficiency, and, if they are androgen deficient, should receive testosterone replacement.1

Dr. Judith Rabkin and her colleagues from the New York State Psychiatric Institute recently evaluated the effect of testosterone supplementation on seventy men with HIV illness who had low or low-normal levels of testosterone. After a six-week period, the men receiving testosterone injections twice a week reported higher sex drive and energy levels, with reduced depression and increased muscle mass, compared to controls.2 "All measures of depressive symptoms, distress, quality-of-life satisfactions and enjoyment, fatigue, libido, and erectile response showed a statistically significant improvement from the study baseline," Dr. Rabkin reported.2

Because men with low circulating levels of testosterone may be prone to a more aggressive HIV infection, early identification and treatment of those with testosterone deficiency could "expedient testosterone supplementation therapy, which could improve morbidity and quality of life for HIV-infected men."3

The Male Hormone Profile provides an analysis of bio available testosterone levels using 4 timed saliva samples, revealing imbalances that can have a strong impact on the physiological and emotional health of individuals with HIV/AIDS.


1 Grinspoon S, Corcoran C, Askari H, Schoenfeld D, Wolf L, Burrows B, Walsh M, Hayden D, Parlman K, Anderson E, Basgoz N, Klibanski A. Effects of androgen administration in men with the AIDS wasting syndrome. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Annals of Internal Medicine 1998;129(1):18-26.

2 Rabkin JG, Wagner GJ, Rabkin R. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of testosterone therapy for HIV-positive men with hypogonadal symptoms. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2000; 57;141-147.

3 Kopicko JJ, Momodu I, Adedokun A, Hoffman M, Clark RA, Kissinger P. Characteristics of HIV-infected men with low serum testosterone levels. Int J STD AIDS 1999 Dec;10(12):817-20

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