Amanda Willig, Ph.D.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Case Western Reserve University have received a $3.25 million, five-year R01 grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research to begin recruiting for the first longitudinal study — PROSPER-HIV — investigating how exercise and nutrition affect the symptoms adults with HIV experience.

HIV comes with a high burden of symptoms, including pain, memory loss, and fatigue, often causing distress and a decrease in quality of life for those living with the disease. How to effectively mitigate these symptoms non-pharmaceutically is unclear, but physical activity and good dietary intake appear to be promising symptom management strategies.

“There is very little known about how the body responds to changes in diet and physical activity when HIV infection is present,” said Amanda Willig, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Division of Infectious Diseases and one of the principal investigators for the study. “We hope these discoveries can improve clinical care for those living and aging with HIV and support tailored lifestyle interventions for their unique needs.”

The PROSPER-HIV study will observe 850 patients at four different HIV clinic locations — UAB, Case Western, University of Washington, and Fenway Health — for three years. The study will also look at various dietary or activity patterns within certain subgroups, including older adults, women, and minority populations.

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