(to lose weight)
  • Weight loss can result in both fat and muscle loss
  • There are many causes for weight loss
  • We speak of clinically relevant weight loss when at least 5 percent of the original weight has been lost in 6 months
  • In the case of unexplained weight loss, no reason for the weight loss has been found after investigation
  • HIV can cause weight loss





When you lose weight, you can see that your body becomes thinner. Your pants may seem to become wider or your belt can be tightened further than normal. This can be because there is less fat on your body or because muscle mass has decreased. It is important that you weigh yourself regularly to see how much weight loss there is in a given time. In addition to the weight loss itself, you may also feel sluggish, have less energy or be fatigued.


There are many causes that can cause unwanted, significant weight loss. Important causes are: cancer, COPD, heart failure, stomach and intestinal complaints and some chronic diseases. Weight loss can also be a side effect of the use of certain medicine, drugs or alcohol. An HIV infection can also cause weight loss.
Sometimes no good explanation for the weight loss can be found. Then the weight loss is called 'unexplained'.
We only speak of weight loss if you have lost 5 percent of your original weight in six months, without being actively involved (i.e. not dieting or exercising extra).

Example: losing 5% means that someone who weighs 80 kilograms and loses 4 kilograms in six months.

HIV and weight loss

Unexplained weight loss can be a sign of HIV. A lot of research has already been done to find out the cause of the weight loss, but no good explanation has yet been found. Five percent of the original weight has to be lost in 6 months to be able to speak of weight loss. If you are not sure whether you are suffering from unexplained weight loss, you can contact your doctor.
HIV indicator conditions are conditions or symptoms that occur more often in people with an underlying HIV infection than in people without an HIV infection. Unexplained weight loss is one of the HIV indicator conditions. If you are experiencing or have experience unexplained weight loss and have not been tested for HIV, it is advisable to ask your doctor or general practitioner for an HIV test. Find it difficult to ask for an HIV test? You may download a call card that will help you formulate your question.