HIV treatment can cause unwanted changes in the look of your face and body. At Cope Cosmetic Dermatology, we can help you explore your options for greater confidence in your look.

What is Lipoatrophy?

Lipodystrophy is a term that refers to changes in the body’s fat composition. Lipoatrophy is a more specific term that refers to the loss of fat in areas like the face or body. Lipoatrophy can occur in HIV patients for various reasons, but the result is a noticeable loss of fat in the facial profile, causing a gaunt look (sometimes called “facial wasting”). Although HIV can be difficult to treat, there are cosmetic treatment options available to treat lipoatrophy.

Areas of Lipoatrophy

Lipoatrophy in HIV patients tends to affect specific areas. These usually include:

  • Arms and legs
  • Cheeks, temples, or around the eyes
  • Buttocks

Lipoatrophy tends to affect male HIV patients more than female patients, who tend to experience lipohypertrophy, or the accumulation of fat in certain areas. But both men and women can experience lipoatrophy, especially in the face.

What Causes Lipoatrophy?

Lipodystrophy has been linked to certain kinds of protease inhibitors previously used in HIV treatment. Some newer HIV drugs are less likely to cause lipodystrophy, but it’s also thought that HIV itself may cause lipodystrophy. Ultimately, not enough is known about what causes lipodystrophy in HIV patients.

What Are My Treatment Options for Lipoatrophy?

The best treatment available for lipoatrophy patients is dermal fillers like:

  • Voluma®
  • Restylane®
  • RHA fillers
  • Sculptra®

Dermal fillers can help restore volume under the skin to pad out deep folds and depressions. This can help restore a more natural appearance to the face. Dermal fillers can last for a year or more, making them a great investment in your long-term confidence.

Maintaining Lipoatrophy Treatment

The best way to maintain your results is to follow our team’s aftercare instructions and return for re-treatment according to your schedule. Most fillers last for around one year before results begin to fade, so it’s important to return at this time to maintain your look.


Dr. Austin Cope is a Utah native as well as a highly educated and well-trained cosmetic dermatologist. At Cope Cosmetic Dermatology, our team is here to help you look and feel your best.


Dr. Cope can help you achieve a new level of confidence with aesthetic experience and a laid-back approach. To learn more, contact us through our online form or give us a call.

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