Purpose of review: Bone health has become an increasingly important aspect of the care of HIV-infected patients as bone loss with antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation is significant and osteopenia and osteoporosis are highly prevalent. Vitamin D is tightly linked to calcium balance and bone health, and vitamin D deficiency is common in HIV. This review outlines the epidemiology of vitamin D deficiency in HIV, summarizes our current understanding of the relationship between vitamin D and bone loss in HIV and the impact of vitamin D supplementation in this patient group.
Recent findings: Although data are conflicting as to whether vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent among HIV-infected individuals than in the general population, there are several reasons for why this patient group may be at heightened risk. Studies linking vitamin D deficiency to bone loss in HIV are limited; however, data from randomized clinical trials suggest a benefit of vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of bone loss with ART initiation and for the treatment of bone loss with bisphosphonate therapy.
Summary: There are too limited data to recommend universal screening of vitamin D status or supplementation to all HIV-infected individuals. However, testing 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in those at risk for deficiency and treating patients found to be deficient or initiating ART or bisphosphonate therapy should be considered. Further study on vitamin D supplementation is needed regarding the potential benefit on immune activation and restoration in this patient group.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01523496.