Low bone mineral density, potentially leading to osteoporosis and increased risk of bone fracture, is a recognised complication of HIV infection. Causes are thought to include traditional risk factors such as smoking and drug use, the inflammatory effects of HIV itself, and the side-effects of some antiretroviral drugs. A new study has compared bone mineral density between HIV-positive young adults and age- and sex-matched HIV-negative controls. They also examined the risk factors for low bone mineral density in the HIV-positive participants. Normal bone mineral density was present in only a third of the HIV-positive participants, which was significantly lower than the prevalence in the control group. The researchers suggest that exercise should be “strongly recommended in HIV-infected patients from the very early stages of the infection”.

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