Rates of osteopenia (low bone mineral density – BMD) and osteoporosis are higher in people living with HIV (PLWH) than in the general population. It’s possible that HIV itself or the body’s response to HIV may contribute to bone problems. In addition, many people living with HIV smoke, drink, don’t get enough exercise or have other risk factors for bone problems. Also, some anti-HIV medications can have an impact on the bones, especially in the first year of treatment. But up till now, it was not known whether or not low BMD would indeed result in more fractures.

A recently published study from the United States shows that broken bones increase in frequency a full decade earlier in HIV-positive men compared to their HIV-negative peers. The study found that the fracture rate among men in their 50s was double that observed in HIV-negative men in the same age range (the control group).

Guidelines from the British HIV Association (BHIVA) recommend that, in PLWH, everyone over the age of 50 and all women who have gone through the menopause should be assessed every three years for their risk of having a fracture.

The full article can be read here.

Also, see NAM’s factsheet ‘Bone problems and HIV’ for further information.