Physical Activity and Immunity in HIV-Infected Individuals

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The purpose of this study was to determine what relationship exists among physical activity levels and viral load and CD4+ cell count in HIV-infected individuals. Increased viral load is associated with disease progression and symptom severity. A convenience sample of 66 male and female subjects between the ages of 18 and 64 years of age (mean 39±8) was recruited from a hospital-based HIV/AIDS clinic. Components of PA were assessed for three continuous days using a mini-motion logger wrist actigraph. These components included mean PA level, and PA index and acceleration index. Pearson's correlational analysis was used to test the strength of association between PA components and viral load or CD4+ cell count. A significant inverse relationship was found between mean PA level and viral load (p=0.047). An inverse relationship was also observed between PA index and viral load (p=0.0061). Neither mean PA nor PA index scores correlated with CD4+ cell counts. Acceleration index, a measure of PA intensity, showed no correlation to viral load or CD4+ cell counts. These findings suggest that increasing levels of physical activity might have beneficial effects on viral load in HIV-infected individuals.