Purpose of review
Chronic HIV infection and exposure to antiretroviral therapy compromises bone health in children and adolescents, potentially impacting their long-term quality of life. Thus, the purpose of this article is to review the most recent literature on this topic in HIV-infected children and adolescents.
Recent studies continue to demonstrate bone abnormalities in HIV-infected children and adolescents, whether HIV is acquired perinatally or during adolescence. Researchers have employed new modalities, both high tech and those that can be utilized in resource-limited settings, to better assess bone health. New data suggest that this population may also be experiencing an increase incidence of fractures, and they may not acquire the same peak bone mass as their HIV-uninfected counterparts. Reassuringly, however, in-utero tenofovir exposure does not appear to have a significant impact on bone health in HIV-exposed, uninfected infants.
HIV-infected children and adolescents are exposed to HIV and antiretroviral therapy for many decades starting early in life and during the most critical time for skeletal growth and bone mass accrual. Recent findings underscore the need for further research on bone in this population. Longitudinal studies are especially needed to evaluate long-term risk of osteoporosis and fracture.