I've lived with HIV for 14 years, and my bum remains perky. I haven't had butt droop or lipoatrophy (the loss of subcutaneous fat from the face, arms, legs or buttocks). So when POZ asked me to test butt enhancers, I enlisted a friend, Matt (not his real name), to be my guinea pig.

In the old days, butt fat loss came from HIV wasting. Nowadays, it's more often a side effect of some older HIV meds. Aging, genetics and the state of your immune system might also factor in. Once that ass is lost, it won't reappear by itself.

Correcting butt droop is not just vanity. Sitting can be torture, stressing bones and compressing nerves. Matt, who is 65 and has been HIV positive for more than 26 years, has a CD4 count of 450 and an undetectable viral load. He carries a foam pillow to plays and concerts, he says, “because my skinny butt gives out.”

Two companies market butt enhancers to help people sit more comfortably.

LipoWear (lipowear.com) offers SitRelief Shorts ($69), a product for men, with padding from the buttocks to the mid-thighs. A women's style is in development.

Butt for You (buttforyou.com) offers four styles: The Homme, underwear in jersey cotton/spandex ($36.95); the Beach Bum, boxer-style swim suits ($59.95); Tanning Trunks of polyester/spandex jersey ($59.95); and for women, the Femme, boy shorts of cotton/spandex jersey blend ($36.95).     

MATT'S REVIEWS
1. LipoWear-Phat: “Flying colors. I was able to sit through a 3 -hour performance of ‘August: Osage County.' In the tiny, old-fashioned seats at San Francisco's Curran Theatre, I usually spend the whole night squirming, trying to get comfortable. But this time I didn't do that—I felt like I was sitting on a plush seat.”

Thin: “Although my boyfriend says he can't tell I'm wearing it, LipoWear feels a bit bulky. But the more you wear and wash them, the more they mold to your body.”

2. Butt for You-Phat: “It gives your ass a nice curve, and your pants hang better. It made a big difference for me just sitting in the car, and I quickly forgot that I had them on. If I were working, I'd wear them on a daily basis.”

Thin: “Since the padding is high up, when you're sitting down it's not cushioning your butt as much as you might like.”  

BACKSIDE STORY
The two butt-pad companies featured on this page were founded by HIV-positive men.

In 2004, longtime HIV/AIDS survivor Terry Delonas founded LipoWear to market the padded underwear SitRelief Shorts. LipoWear now donates 10 percent of corporate profits to AIDS service organizations.

Butt for You was founded in 1997 by Kenneth Christman, who died of cancer in 2004. “The back of my jeans resembled a denim shower curtain. I had lost my butt,”  he once wrote. After searching in vain for relief, Christman wrote, he founded the company to “fix what nature had neglected.”