/ 6 February 2023

PODCAST | ‘We’ve failed as clinicians’: This HIV doctor is changing how he treats overweight patients. Here’s why

Hiv Vaccine – Closer Than Ever
  • The HIV treatment dolutegravir doesn’t cause weight gain, research shows. So what’s really happening? It’s a combination of factors. 
  • One reason is that dolutegravir isn’t as harsh as older antiretrovirals (ARVs), so it doesn’t cause weight loss. Researchers think the weight gain is a sign that someone is getting better on ARVs. Then, they’re experiencing the same issues that many other South Africans do because they don’t have easy access to healthy food. 
  • Meanwhile, the medical establishment is grappling with its cruel treatment of obese people, who are often labelled “lazy” when the biggest reasons for weight gain aren’t in people’s control (for a range of reasons such as genetics and structural problems such as poverty). HIV doctor Francois Venter explains why the treatment of overweight people reminds him of the bad old days of the HIV epidemic.

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You’ll find previous episodes here.

This story was produced by the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism. Sign up for the newsletter.