Young men being treated for HIV are more likely to experience low bone mass than other men their age, according to results from a research network supported by the National Institutes of Health.
The findings, according to a National Institutes of Health news release, indicate physicians who care for these patients should monitor them regularly for signs of bone thinning.
“The young men in the study had been taking anti-HIV medications for a comparatively short time, yet they still had lower bone mineral density (BMD) than other men their age,” study co-author Bill G. Kapogiannis, MD, stated in the release. “These findings suggest a short-term impact of HIV therapy on bone at ages when people are still growing and building bone mass. This raises concern about the risk of fracture as they age.”
For the study, published in Clinical Infectious Disease, the researchers investigated 199 HIV-positive men and 53 HIV-negative controls, all between the ages of 14 years and 25 years. According to the abstract, HIV-positive patients were recruited based on antiretroviral therapy (ART) status, with 52 patients being on a regiment containing a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), 42 on a protease inhibitor (PI) and 105 ART-naïve.
Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was used to measure BMD, bone mineral content (BMC) and body composition, with linear modeling being used across groups to compare results.
According to the release, HIV-infected patients had, on average, hip BMD 5% to 8% lower and spine BMD 2% to 4% lower than study participants without HIV. Patients with HIV who had not begun treatment had higher bone mass levels than HIV-positive patients on anti-HIV regimens, but lower bone mass levels than those patients without HIV.
The authors noted in the release that survey questions answered by the patients revealed that at least half did not consume sufficient calcium or vitamin D. More than 30% of the patients smoked, with half saying they do not regularly exercise.
Mulligan K, Harris DR, Emmanuel P, et al. Low bone mass in behaviorally HIV-infected young men on antiretroviral therapy: Adolescent Trials Network (ATN) study 021B. Clin Infect Dis. 2012. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis455