HIV and bone health

Juliet Bennett
Independent Nurse Advisor

Despite advances in HIV medicine people living with HIV (PLWH) continue to face many physical challenges. As the natural history of HIV infection evolves and with an ageing cohort, bone health and disease should be an important consideration for healthcare professionals working in this field. This continuing professional development (CPD) article will briefly describe bone health and the causes and symptoms of a range of bone diseases found both in the general and HIVpositive population. The article emphasises prevention strategies but treatment options are also detailed. Given that reduction in bone density is associated with increased mortality, early detection and effective management of associated risk factors is imperative in order to enhance quality of life and limit overall disease burden. There is a clear role for nurses working in the field to collaborate with multidisciplinary colleagues in the provision of evidence-based screening and care for those at risk, in order to improve clinical outcomes and quality of life.
Key words: antiretroviral therapy, bone mineral density, HIV, prevention, treatment