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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2017 July-August;57(7-8):1051-6

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06357-X


language: English

Lymphocyte CD4+ cell count, strength improvements, heart rate and body composition of HIV-positive patients during a 3-month strength training program

Artur BESSA 1, Jorge C. LOPEZ 2, Fabrízio DI MASI 3, Fernando FERRY 4, Gabriel, COSTA e SILVA 3, 5, Estélio H. MARTINS DANTAS 3, 6

1 Faculty of Physical Education, Federal University of Mato Grosso (UFMT), Cuiabá, Brazil; 2 University of Playa Ancha, Valparaíso, Chile; 3 Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 4 Federal University of Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 5 Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of ABC, Santo André, Brazil; 6Universidade Tiradentes (LABMH/UNIT), Aracaju, Brazil


BACKGROUND: There is a lack of information regarding the positive effects of different types of physical training on HIV-positive patient immune function, body composition and physical fitness. The goal of this study was two-fold: 1) to determine the effects of a three-month progressive strength training program on lymphocyte CD4+ cell counts in HIV-positive patients; and 2) to measure strength improvements, body composition and cardiovascular alterations in HIV-positive patients after a strength training program.
METHODS: Sixteen HIV-positive male subjects participated in a strength-training program. CD4+ cell count, heart rate body composition and strength measurements were acquired at rest two days before and two days after the program.
RESULTS: The average CD4+ cell count was increased (%=23%, P=0.0005), and all strength tests also showed improvement (%=95%, P=0,0001). Patient resting heart rate decreased (%=9%, P=0.0042), as did the skinfold sum (%=16%, P=0.002). Limb circumference sum and body weight did not change.
CONCLUSIONS: Considering that a decrease in CD4+ cell count, muscle mass and overall physical fitness are expected results of HIV infection, the strength training protocol described here is an effective and safe way to improve immune function, body composition and cardiovascular fitness in HIV-positive patients. The results provided an important evidence for the effectiveness of a 3-month progressive resistance exercise training program at increasing immune function and physical fitness, strongly recommending its inclusion in the standardized treatment plan of HIV-positive patients.

KEY WORDS: HIV - Lymphocytes - Immune system - Cardiovascular system - Physical fitness - Resistance training

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