“Lipo” is short for lipodystrophy —an umbrella term for the gain or loss of fat where you weren’t quite expecting it. Here’s what lipo may involve:
Lipoatrophy Fat loss from your face, arms, legs or butt.
Lipoaccumulation (Lipohypertrophy) Fat gain, mostly around your middle or on your breasts and sometimes showing up in lumps (lipomas) on the back of your neck (“buffalo hump”) and elsewhere.
Visceral Fat Lipoaccumulation in the belly is visceral fat. It collects deep inside your body, around your organs. It’s not the jiggly stuff, which is easier to get rid of.
Subcutaneous Fat The fat just under your skin that gives you that youthful look. It disappears when you have lipoatrophy and can be removed with liposuction.
HIV Wasting When you lose muscle, not fat. This can happen to HIVers at all stages, but it’s worst after progressing to AIDS. It has nothing to do with HIV med side effects and is not to be confused with “fat wasting,” which is lipoatrophy.
Metabolic Problems Lipodystrophy can cause invisible fluctuations of fat or sugar in your bloodstream, raising your risk for long-term problems such as diabetes or heart disease.