Medical News

HIV-Positive People Might Be at Increased Risk of Bone Fractures, Study Finds

September 2, 2008

As HIV-positive people live longer primarily because of antiretroviral treatment, they might face an increased risk of bone fractures, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital reported last week, Xinhua/ reports. According to the study, the prevalence of bone fractures in people living with HIV is 60% greater compared with HIV-negative people. According to Steven Grinspoon of MGH, the study group included more than 8,500 people living with HIV and more than two million control patients. He added that researchers evaluated data from patients treated over an 11-year period. The size of the study group "has the power to detect significant differences in risk for both men and women at critical sites such as the hip and spine, risks that increased with age," Grinspoon said.

The researchers found that the prevalence of bone fractures was 1.8% in HIV-negative participants, compared with 2.9% of HIV-positive people who were diagnosed with fractures of the wrist, spine and hip. The study also found that fracture rates associated with HIV were seen in both women -- 2.5% of HIV-positive women compared with 1.7% of HIV-negative women -- and men -- 3% of HIV-positive men compared with 1.8% of HIV-negative men. In addition, the researchers said that older patients have an even greater risk of bone fractures. Grinspoon said the results of the study indicate that as people living with HIV age, they should be screened for bone density, adding that researchers "need to learn more about the mechanisms of this bone loss -- whether [antiretroviral] drugs, the virus itself or other metabolic factors are responsible" (Xinhua/, 8/28).

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