Bone health and HIV in resource-limited settings: a scoping review

Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2016 May;11(3):306-25. doi: 10.1097/COH.0000000000000274.


Purpose of review: Sub-Saharan Africa and other resource-limited settings (RLS) bear the greatest burden of the HIV epidemic globally. Advantageously, the expanding access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) has resulted in increased survival of HIV individuals in the last 2 decades. Data from resource rich settings provide evidence of increased risk of comorbid conditions such as osteoporosis and fragility fractures among HIV-infected populations. We provide the first review of published and presented data synthesizing the current state of knowledge on bone health and HIV in RLS.

Recent findings: With few exceptions, we found a high prevalence of low bone mineral density (BMD) and hypovitaminosis D among HIV-infected populations in both RLS and resource rich settings. Although most recognized risk factors for bone loss are similar across settings, in certain RLS there is a high prevalence of both non-HIV-specific risk factors and HIV-specific risk factors, including advanced HIV disease and widespread use of ART, including tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, a non-BMD sparing ART. Of great concern, we neither found published data on the effect of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate initiation on BMD, nor any data on incidence and prevalence of fractures among HIV-infected populations in RLS.

Summary: To date, the prevalence and squeal of metabolic bone diseases in RLS are poorly described. This review highlights important gaps in our knowledge about HIV-associated bone health comorbidities in RLS. This creates an urgent need for targeted research that can inform HIV care and management guidelines in RLS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / complications*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / epidemiology*
  • Developing Countries
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents