Aerobic endurance in HIV positive young adults and HIV negative controls in Malawi
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Background: Aerobic endurance is an important aspect of physical fitness that enables HIV infected individuals to endure in the work place as well as in agricultural operations in order to earn a living and improve their quality of life. However, despite high HIV prevalence rates, the aerobic endurance status of HIV infected young adults in Malawi is still unknown. The objective of the study was to explore the difference in VO2max between HIV- and HIV+ individuals in Blantyre, Malawi. Methods: 55 HIV+ subjects (17 males and 38 females) not taking antiretroviral medication and 78 HIV- subjects (45 males and 33 females) performed the Rockport submaximal treadmill exercise test. Measures of body weight, post exercise heart rate and time to complete 1 mile distance were obtained to predict VO2max. Measurements of physical activity were also obtained through a self reported physical activity questionnaire. Comparisons between groups were adjusted for age differences using ANCOVA. Results: VO2max was significantly lower in HIV+ subjects [31.1, 28.7 - 33.5mL.kg-1.min-1(mean, 95% CI)] compared with HIV- subjects [56.2, 54.3 - 58.1mL.kg-1. min-1]. Physical activity level was higher in HIV- individuals compared to HIV+ individuals [4.2, 3.4 - 5.1 versus 2.8, 1.7 -4.0(mean, 95% CI)] but the difference was not significant (p = 0.09). Conclusion: Aerobic endurance was markedly reduced in HIV+ subjects compared with HIVsubjects. Findings of the current study implicate factors associated with the HIV infection as contributors to a decreased aerobic endurance in this group of patients.