Due to medical advancements, many people living with HIV infection in developed countries are living longer (Palella 1998). HIV infection can now present as a chronic illness with an uncertain natural disease history. The changing course of HIV infection has lead to a potential increase in the prevalence and impact of disability in people living with HIV infection. Exercise is one key management strategy used by health care professionals to address impairments (problems with body function or structure as a significant deviation or loss such as pain or weakness), activity limitations (difficulties an individual may have in executing activities such as inability to walk) and participation restrictions (problems an individual may experience in life situations such as inability to work) in this population (World Health Organization 2001). Exercise may also be used to address unwanted changes in weight and body composition in people living with HIV infection.
Aerobic exercise has been associated with improvements in strength, cardiovascular function, and psychological status in general populations (Bouchard 1993). Results of a systematic review suggested that aerobic exercise interventions appeared to be safe and may lead to improvements in cardiopulmonary fitness for adults living with HIV/AIDS (Nixon 2002). But what are the effects of progressive resistive exercise (PRE) for adults living with HIV infection?
A better understanding of the effectiveness and safety of progressive resistive exercise will enable people living with HIV and their health care workers to practice effective and appropriate exercise prescription, thus contributing to improved overall outcomes for adults living with HIV infection.