Prevalence of and risk factors for pubic lipoma development in HIV-infected persons

Giovanni Guaraldi*, Gabriella Orlando, Nicola Squillace, Alberto Roverato, Domenico De Fazio, Marcella Vandelli, Giulia Nardini, Barbara Beghetto, Maria De Paola, Roberto Esposito, Frank Palella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The natural history of HIV-associated body habitus changes is unclear. In this report, we describe a novel manifestation of HIV-associated lipoaccumulation. METHODS: We noted the presence of suprapubic fat pads (pubic lipomas [PLs]) in several patients with preexisting HIV-associated body habitus abnormalities. Subsequently, we evaluated the prevalence of and associated risk factors for development of PLs by undertaking an observational cross-sectional study among patients with known lipodystrophy who attended a metabolic clinic in northern Italy. Inclusion criteria were a physician-confirmed diagnosis of lipodystrophy according to the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study definition and, for those affected with PL, a readily noticeable PL on physical examination. RESULTS: We evaluated 582 patients with lipodystrophy: 214 female (36.7%) and 368 male (63.3%). The overall PL prevalence was 9.4% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 7.2% to 12.1%; P < 0.0001). PLs were more common among obese than nonobese individuals (34.5%, 95% CI: 17.9% to 5l.3% vs. 8%, 95% CI: 5.9% to 10.6%, respectively; P < 0.0001) and those with preexisting dorsocervical fat pads, commonly called "buffalo humps" (BHs) (18.5%, 95% CI: 12.7% to 25.4% vs. 6.1%, 95% CI: 4.03% to 8.83%, respectively, P < 0.0001; relative risk = 3.02, 95% CI: 1.84% to 4.96%, P < 0.0001). The PL prevalence in the nonobese HIV-infected population (body mass index [BMI] <30, n = 550) was 8.0% (95% CI: 5.9% to 10.6%; P < 0.0001). Logistic regression analyses identified the following factors as associated with a greater likelihood for PL: BMI >30 (β = 0.18, SE = 0.04; P < 0.001), female gender (β = 1.06, SE = 0.31; P < 0.001), and shorter duration of HIV infection (β = -0.005, SE = 0.003; P = 0.04). We used a chain graph model to evaluate risk factors for BH and PL simultaneously. A nonnull interaction between these entities was evident, and this association seemed to be independent of factors positively associated with both (BMI and gender). CONCLUSIONS: PL is a newly recognized manifestation of HIV-associated lipoaccumulation that is more likely to occur among those with coexisting dorsocervical fat pads, suggesting the possibility of a common pathogenesis between the 2 entities. Likewise, PLs are more common among women, obese individuals, and those with a shorter duration of HIV infection. We suggest that PL should be considered part of the HIV-associated lipodystrophy syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-76
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2007


  • Fat redistribution
  • Lipoaccumulation
  • Lipodystrophy
  • Pubic lipoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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