Effect of aerobic exercise training on cardiovascular parameters and CD4 cell count of people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome: A randomized controlled trial
Objective: Despite the significant positive effect of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy on physical and psychosocial well.being of people living with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) (PLWHA); decreased physical activity and its associated cardiovascular risk still pose some consequences for health and general well.being. This study investigated the effect of an 8 week aerobic exercise training on cardiovascular parameters and CD4 cell (T.cells) count of PLWHA.
Materials and Methods: This randomized controlled trial recruited 30 age matched PLWHA who were randomly assigned into exercise group (EG) (n = 15) and control group (CG) (n = 15) respectively. The PLWHA were patients receiving treatment in Presidentfs Emergency Plan for AIDS relief at the HIV clinic of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Nigeria. The EG in addition to conventional therapy received moderate intensity continuous exercise training (60.79% of the maximum heart rate [max]) of between 45 and 60 min, 3 times/week for 8 weeks, while the CG received conventional therapy involving antiretroviral therapy and counseling only. Systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max) and CD4 cell count were assessed at baseline (week 1) and week 8 respectively. Analysis of co.variance and Pearson correlation tests were used in data analysis.
Results: Findings of the study revealed a significant effect (ANCOVA test) of moderate intensity continuous exercise training program on, SBP, DBP, VO2 max and CD4 cell count at P < 0.05. Changes in VO2 max significantly
correlated (Pearson correlation test) with changes in CD4 cell count (r = 0.528) at P < 0.05.
Conclusion: Moderate intensity aerobic exercise is an effective complementary therapy in lowering blood pressure and increasing CD4 cell count in PLWHA.
Key words: Aerobic exercise, cardiovascular parameters, CD4 count, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome, Nigeria