The Relation of HIV and Diabetes


Type 2 Diabetes is a disease where your body is not efficiently using insulin to convert glucose into energy. This causes high blood sugar levels. Normally, the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to keep up with the amount of glucose inside of the body.

For people who have HIV or AIDS, some of the medication used can cause spikes in blood sugar. This will lead to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You should be more concerned if you are also overweight, have a family history of diabetes, or do not have consistent physical activity or exercise (AIDSinfo, 2015).

Losing excess weight, normally suggested 5% to 7% of your body fat, will lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You can achieve his by exercising at least 150 minutes a week and eating a healthier diet (ADA, 2015).

It is good to have your doctor scan your body for type 2 diabetes before treating you for HIV. This is due to the treatments involved with the virus. Some of the medications raises your risk for diabetes substantially, and if you have some of the listed factors, then it is extremely important to be tested.

The American Diabetes Association said, “if you develop high blood glucose, your doctor may change your therapy to keep your blood glucose at normal levels” (ADA, 2015). This could mean changing medications in order to get your blood sugar into the target range.

If you have HIV and are treating it during pregnancy, you should be tested for gestational diabetes between the 24th and the 28th weeks of pregnancy (ADA, 2015). This is extremely important for the health of the mother and the health of the child. If the mother has some of the other risk factors, then her physician might suggest that they be tested earlier to start prevention.

If you take certain HIV medications, your physician could give you different medicines to help you manage your blood sugar and keep it at a safe level. According to the ADA, “people taking metformin plus certain HIV treatments may be at higher risk of lactic acidosis. If you have liver or kidney problems, or you binge drink or drink a lot of alcohol regularly, you are also at higher risk of lactic acidosis” (ADA, 2015). Lactic acidosis is excess of lactate inside of the body causing it to have a low pH balance, hinting the name lactic acidosis. Therefore, it is vital that you discuss your drinking habits and medications with your doctor. Solid communication with him or her will help you.

If you are prescribed a new medication, it is also a great idea to discuss the side effects with a pharmacist. Make sure to pick their brains about the way your current medications will interact with the new prescription. This will help you understand risks of hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, and other conditions.

HIV does increase your risk of being diagnosed with diabetes due to the medicines involved. However, solid communication with your physician will help a lot in lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.


AIDSinfo. (2016). Side effects of HIV medicines. Web. AIDSinfo. Retrieved from

American Diabetes Association. (2015). American Diabetes Association. Retrieved from