Physical fitness characteristics of active duty US Air Force members with HIV infection

Asha De, Xiaohe Xu, James White, Thankam S. Sunil, Jason F. Okulicz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is associated with reduced muscle mass and adverse metabolic effects. We evaluated the impact of HIV infection on longitudinal exercise performance in US Air Force (USAF) members with HIV infection. USAF members perform standardized fitness assessments every 6 to 12 months with a composite score comprised of abdominal circumference, push-ups, sit-ups, and 1.5-mile run. Fitness tests between 2004 and 2014 for male USAF members with HIV infection (n=172) were compared withmale HIV-negative controls (10 per case; n=1636)matched by age and rank category at service entry. Fitness tests for cases (n=1821) were divided into 2 groups, before (pre-HIV) and after (post-HIV) diagnosis, and compared with control fitness assessments (n=30,443) by paired t tests. Random-effects regression analyses were also performed to compare fitness components. Mean composite scores for cases were higher post-HIV (87.06±9.10) compared with pre-HIV (84.92±8.36; P=0.004) and did not differ from respective controls. Compared with pre-HIV, mean push-up (51.50±9.67 vs 50.35±11.18; P=0.018) and sit-up (51.66±7.81 vs 50.57±9.19; P<0.001) counts improved post-HIV, whereas run times were similar (11:53±1:42 vs 11:51±2:05; P=0.056). Regression analyses demonstrated that cases had significantly lower predicted abdominal circumference and push-up counts over time compared with controls, regardless of pre-HIV or post-HIV status (P<0.05 for all). Although functional limitations may occur in the setting of HIV infection, vigorous exercise performance can be both preserved and improved in HIV-infected individuals at a level comparable with HIV-uninfected persons.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere5227
Issue number44
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • Exercise
  • Fitness
  • HIV
  • Muscle strength


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