A new study suggests that a low CD4 cell count before starting HIV treatment is associated with an increased risk of bone loss during the early years of antiretroviral therapy. Infection with HIV is associated with low bone mineral density (BMD) and there is some evidence of an increased risk of fragility fractures. BMD continues to fall after HIV treatment is started. The reasons for this are uncertain.

Researchers in the US monitored BMD in approximately 800 people who started HIV treatment between 1998 and 2007. BMD was checked using DEXA scans before starting HIV treatment and then 96 weeks after starting treatment. BMD declined by an average of 2% during the course of the study. However, people with a baseline CD4 cell count below 50 cells/mm3 lost 3% more BMD than people with a pre-treatment CD4 cell count above 500 cells/mm3.

The full article can be read here.