November 7, 1995
Media Contact: Marc Kusintz
Phone: (410) 955-8665
E-mail: mkusinitz@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu

Researchers at Johns Hopkins are recruiting HIV-positive men for two studies of the possible beneficial effects of the male hormone testosterone on wasting--the loss of a significant amount of weight due to HIV infection.

In one study, men receive injections of either testosterone or a placebo, while in the second, men will be given skin patches that are placed on the scrotum and release the hormone through the skin.

The studies were prompted by unsubstantiated reports that steroid hormones, such as those used illegally by some athletes, help men with AIDS gain weight and improve their quality of life. Therefore, as part of the study, the researchers will measure the amount of body fat and muscle in volunteers.

"This is an important study," says Joseph Cofrancesco, M.D., a research fellow in internal medicine. "Men with AIDS who lose significant amounts of lean body weight are at increased risk of dying. So regaining lean body weight, rather than just fat, might increase life span and improve the quality of life of these men. If testosterone does work, this could become an important treatment for AIDS patients."

If patients in the first studies regain weight, Hopkins researchers plan to see if testosterone given before weight loss prevents wasting.

The Hopkins researchers are looking for HIV-infected patients who have lost at least five percent of their body weight, are not abusing intravenous drugs or cocaine and are not severely depressed.

The study is directed by Adrian Dobs, M.D., associate professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology.

Individuals who would like to volunteer should call (410) 955-9862. Members of the media who would like to speak to the researchers, should call me at 410/955-8665.

-- JHMI --
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