HIV Lipodystrophy Update: Interview with Researcher Dr. Grace McComsey

HIV Lipodystrophy Update: Interview with Researcher Dr. Grace McComsey

Dr. Grace McComsey has been involved in HIV research for 16 years, 12 of those as an NIH-funded principal investigator. Her work has focused on the investigations on lipodystrophy and metabolic complications in HIV. Her work was paramount in showing the link between nucleoside inhibitor-induced mitochondrial toxicity and lipoatrophy in HIV-infected people. Her work was recognized by the HIV Medical Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, with the HIVMA Leader in HIV Research Award. Specifically in recognition for her work in advancing our understanding of lipodystrophy. She has personally led a number of studies, including several multi-center investigating different means to prevent and treat fat alterations in HIV, including uridine supplements, rosiglitazone, statins, and modulation of antiviral therapy dose and type. She has also led several SDG studies showing that central fat accumulation continues to be a major problem threatening the success of current HIV treatment. We’re going to talk about that today. That’s our focus.

In the last 12 years, she has led Case HIV Metabolic Center, which is recognized for clinical and translational studies highlighting the pathogenesis and management of metabolic and cardiovascular complications in HIV. Over the last few years, she has been focusing on elucidating the role of inflammation and immune activation related to co-morbidities in HIV.

New Bill Mandates Coverage of HIV Lipodystrophy Treatments

Ben Klein, a Senior Attorney from speaks about the new bill approved in the state of Massachusetts in Aug. 2016 that mandates several insurance carriers in that state to reimburse cost for HIV related lipodystrophy therapies and how activists can advocate for similar bills in other states.

California is also trying to get a similar bill approved.

California May Require Insurance Companies Cover Lipodystrophy for Poz People

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced an Equality California sponsored bill called HEAL (“Help End Antiretroviral-related Lipodystrophy”) that will require insurance companies and government programs to cover medical treatment for those suffering from the condition.

“The early generation of anti-retroviral medications saved thousands and thousands of HIV survivors’ lives, yet they scarred many survivors with the disfigurement caused by lipodystrophy,” Senator Wiener said in a statement. “Many long-term HIV survivors continue to struggle with this side effect, with both physical and psychological ramifications. The failure of our private insurance and public health programs to cover lipodystrophy correction surgeries for long-term HIV survivors is both unacceptable and discriminatory. It’s time to ensure that these long-term HIV survivors receive the healthcare they need, including correction of this debilitating health condition.”


Interview with Dr Gerald Pierone About HIV Lipodystrophy Options

Nelson Vergel, director of Program for Wellness Restoration, interviews Dr Pierone about his long experience treating patients with HIV facial lipoatrophy and his upcoming study for patients with HIV related abdominal fat accumulation. His website is You can also ask him questions on You can also find more info on PoWeR’s site


Dr. Gerald Pierone Jr. has performed over 20,000 procedures with dermal fillers that include Bellafill® (Artefill®), Sculptra®, Radiesse®, Restylane®, Belotero®, Voluma® and Juvederm®. Dr. Pierone is the leading injector of Bellafill® in the United States and is a nationally recognized trainer and researcher. He has also achieved Black Diamond Elite status with Allergan – Juvederm®, Voluma®, and Botox® – the top 1% of all doctors. Dr. Pierone is also a member of the prestigious Liquid Face Lift Association – reserved and restricted to physicians who have performed thousands of dermal filler procedures while demonstrating excellence with facial fillers. He also serves as a panel expert for facial fillers, facial rejuvenation and facial wasting.
Dr. Pierone trained at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and received his medical degree from University of Florida. He is board certified in internal medicine and infectious disease. In 1990, he relocated to Vero Beach, Florida to establish a medical practice. In 2005, he learned how to inject facial fillers to treat HIV-related lipoatrophy. Since then, he has developed an active private practice focused on facial rejuvenation with facial fillers, PDO threads and energy-related aesthetic treatments.

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Update on Egrifta for the reduction of visceral fat accumulation associated with HIV lpodystrophy

Serono launched Egrifta this month.
Doctors are calling in the number included in the link below to get the paper work started for insurance reimbursement.
It seems that some insurance companies are  already starting to pay for it, but high copays may be required. Serono has a $200 copay assistance per prescription.
The total yearly cost is $23,900.   It is injected once a day under the skin (2 mg).  After 26 weeks, some people lose anywhere from 15 to 25 % (avg 18%). You will regain the fat if you stop using i.
I encouraged Serono to fund studies with exercise and the use of Metformin, two approaches that may enhance fat loss.
They could not tell me if any Medicare Part D program has already paid for drug yet.  There is no copay assistance for Medicare Part D patients due to a federal law that prohibits them.
The patient assistance program provides free drug to people with incomes lower than 6 times the poverty level ( around $68,000 per year for a single person with no dependents). Your doctor has to contact them, per the following link:
I encourage that people on this list try to apply for the patient assistance program. The Fair Pricing Coalition ( a group of activists that I am part of) needs to find out if there are any problems in applying for this program, so please help us audit it and report to this list.
More info in