Yes, the administration of human growth hormone (HGH or GH) has several health benefits in the management of symptoms related to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
But the hormone replacement therapy must be made under strict medical supervision as the side effects can quickly outweigh the benefits due to the abuse or misuse of HGH in HIV management.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). It is usually transmitted via infected blood, semen and vaginal secretions, among other bodily fluids coming into contact with either mucous membranes or broken skin.
It must be emphasized that people with HIV infections are usually fit and well but some will develop AIDS, which has no effective cure yet.
Human growth hormone (HGH) is actually produced by the body but it has been synthesized, thus, its uses for bodybuilding, performance enhancement, and anti-aging purposes. Its most notable medical use, however, is in the management of HIV symptoms with the following benefits.
Cachexia is the medical term for wasting, a debilitating complication of HIV infection that can become life-threatening in nature. The complication is closely associated with reduced muscle strength including functional ability and reduced ability of the immune system to withstand opportunistic infections (e.g., pneumonia), thus, increasing the risks for mortality.
While the incidence of wasting in HIV patients have declined because of the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), it is still a cause for concern among patients and doctors alike.
With the addition of recombinant HGH (rHGH) to anabolic steroids, patients can enjoy improved quality of life even during the advanced stages of AIDS.
rHGH has also been proven useful in improving bone mass that, in turn, increases bone density. It must be noted that HIV patients may have significant bone density loss associated with wasting.
Improved Heart Health
HIV patients can develop fat deposits as well as high levels of triglycerides, cholesterol and glucose, all of which increase their risks for heart disease. These complications are believed to be the result of a faulty immune system and the use of HIV drugs.
Furthermore, HIV patients can develop a condition characterized by the abnormal distribution of body fat (i.e., HARS, a type of lipodystrophy), which can worsen as the virus load increases. While this is not debilitating in itself, the increased fat can be unpleasant on the physical and psychological levels.
Studies have shown that rHGH therapy can significantly reduce HARS. In turn, the risks for cardiovascular diseases and its complications can be reduced while the issues about body image can also be lessened.
Improved Immune System
This is the benefit that arouses the most interest among HIV/AIDS researchers for good reason. The primary effect of HIV/AIDS is on the reduction of the functional ability of the immune system, thus, improving its capacity to withstand complications means better quality of life for patients, even prolonged lives for them.
Scientists have yet to determine the exact mechanism behind the effect. The most commonly accepted theory: rHGH stimulates the renewal and regeneration of the thymus gland, which plays important roles in the maintenance of a strong immune system.
Improved Resistance Against Acute Infections
Because of their compromised immune systems, HIV patients are at higher risks for acute infections as well as lower ability for effective response against the infections even with antibiotics in use. The compromised immune system is associated with weight loss caused by poor appetite and secondary infections, among others.
The use of rHGH can curb weight loss since it is useful in muscle development (i.e., it is used by bodybuilders to build up bulk). With weight loss under control, the body has higher chances of effectively responding to the effects of antibiotics, among other treatments against infections.
Of course, the administration of human growth hormone injections and supplements for HIV patients must be made under the strict medical supervision of a team of healthcare professionals including doctors and nurses.