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To assess the frequency and features of lipodystrophic syndromes in HIV-1-infected patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) with a protease inhibitor (PI), and examine whether clinical and biologic abnormalities are always associated in these conditions.Retrospective-prospective single-center observational study of 175 patients. Comparisons for continuous variables by t-test and paired t-test, and Kaplan-Meier analysis of time to onset of lipodystrophy were performed.In all, 51 patients (29%) had morphologic changes, after a mean HAART duration of 20.0 ± 6.1 months, and were categorized into pure lipoatrophy (n = 16), mixed syndrome (truncal fat accumulation and face or limb lipoatrophy) (n = 30) or pure truncal fat accumulation (n = 5). Because of the small number, the latter group was not analyzed statistically. No differences were found among patients with lipoatrophy, mixed syndrome, or no lipodystrophy, in terms of gender, CD4 count, and HIV RNA plasma load at time of HAART initiation, nor in response to treatment. Patients with a mixed syndrome were older. Patients with lipoatrophy had longer duration of HIV disease, pre-HAART exposure to nucleoside analog therapy, and HAART. Baseline and pre-HAART fasting triglyceride levels were higher in patients who developed lipoatrophy, whereas weight and fasting cholesterol were higher in patients who developed a mixed syndrome. After 12 and 24 months on HAART, triglycerides and cholesterol rose significantly in all patients, independently of lipodystrophy, whereas these parameters were not increased during nucleoside analog therapy.Nucleoside analog exposure appears as a risk factor for lipoatrophy. Age and nutritional status (reflected by baseline weight, triglycerides and cholesterol) may influence the evolution to lipoatrophy or a mixed syndrome. Hyperlipidemia is observed in the absence of lipodystrophy and depends on PI exposure.