HIV Aging and Bone Damage

People with HIV are now living longer than ever, because of effective HIV treatment and more awareness of risks. These days, people with HIV are unlikely to be ill because of HIV, but increasing numbers do have heart disease, diabetes and other ‘age-related conditions’. Rates of some of these conditions are higher in HIV-positive patients than in HIV-negative people. It sometimes appears as if these problems occur at younger ages in people living with HIV positive.

Osteoporosis is higher in people living with HIV 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. In addition, some anti-HIV medications can have an impact on the bones, especially in the first year of treatment. Changing your HIV treatment is usually only recommended if you have other risk factors for bone problems. There’s more information on this below, in the section on ‘treatment and management’.

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