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To evaluate the safety and efficacy of polyalkylimide gel (PAIG) in the treatment of HIV-associated facial lipoatrophy.A randomized, open-label, single-centre study.HIV-positive individuals with facial lipoatrophy (based on physician assessment) were randomly assigned to immediate (weeks 0 and 6) or delayed (weeks 12 and 18) PAIG injections administered into the subcutaneous plane. Outcome measures included a change in facial lipoatrophy severity scores (five-point scale), adverse events, photographic assessment, and changes in quality of life (QoL), depression and anxiety using validated surveys.Thirty-one patients (median age 48 years, 97% male) were enrolled and completed 48 weeks of follow-up. Overall, the median volume of product injected bilaterally was 16.0 ml. Adverse events, including swelling, redness, bruising and pain, were mild, and resolved after a median of 3 days. There were no cases of necrosis, nodules or infection. Compared with patients randomly assigned to delayed treatment, patients in the immediate therapy group had significantly lower physician-rated facial lipoatrophy scores (0 versus 2; P < 0.0001), improved QoL (P = 0.01), and lower anxiety (P = 0.02) at week 12. At week 48, median physician and patient facial lipoatrophy scores were 0 and 1, respectively, for the entire cohort, and were not significantly different between the groups. Significant improvements in patient anxiety (P = 0.001) and depression (P = 0.01) were observed from baseline to week 48.Treatment with PAIG was effective and safe and led to improvements in facial lipoatrophy grading, QoL, anxiety and depression scores in HIV-infected patients with facial lipoatrophy.