Metabolic Complications and Comorbidity (JM Kilby, Section Editor)

Current HIV/AIDS Reports

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 218-222

First online:

Osteoporosis and Bone Health in HIV

  • William G. PowderlyAffiliated withSchool of Medicine and Medical Sciences, University College Dublin Email author 

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Patients with HIV can develop several complications that involve bone including low bone mineral density and osteoporosis, osteonecrosis, and rarely osteomalacia. Low bone mineral density leading to osteoporosis is the most common bone pathology. This may result from HIV infection (directly or indirectly), antiretroviral toxicity, or as a consequence of other co-morbidities. The clinical relevance of osteoporosis in HIV infection has been uncertain; however, fragility fractures are increasingly reported in HIV-infected patients. Further research is required to understand the pathogenesis of osteoporosis in HIV-infected patients and determine effective management; however, initiation of antiretroviral therapy seems to accelerate (in the short-term) bone demineralization. Tenofovir may be associated with a greater degree of short-term loss of bone density than other antiviral agents and the potential long-term bone dysfunction is unclear. As the HIV-infected population ages, screening for low bone mineral density will become increasingly important.


HIV Antiretroviral therapy Osteopenia Osteoporosis Fractures Vitamin D Tenofovir