Antiretroviral therapy, especially Efavirenz, is associated with low bone mineral density in HIV-infected South Africans

Purpose We determined the prevalence and correlates of low bone mineral density (BMD) in HIV-infected South Africans as there is a paucity of such data from Africa. METHODS: BMD and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D were measured in HIV-positive participants on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and in those not yet on ART (ART-naïve). RESULTS: We enrolled 444 participants [median age 35(IQR: 30, 40) years; 77% women]. BMD was low (z score <-2SD) in 17% and 5% of participants at the lumbar spine and total hip, respectively. Total hip [0.909 (SD 0.123) vs 0.956 (SD 0.124) g/cm 2 , p = 0.0001] and neck of femur BMD [0.796 (SD 0.130) vs 0.844 (SD 0.120) g/cm 2 , p = 0.0001] were lower in the ART, compared to the ART-naïve group. Vitamin D deficiency was present in 15% of participants and was associated with efavirenz use [adjusted OR 2.04 (95% CI 1.01 to 4.13)]. In a multivariate linear regression, exposure to efavirenz or lopinavir-based ART was associated with lower total hip BMD, whereas higher weight, being male and higher vitamin D concentration were associated with higher total hip BMD (adjusted R 2 = 0.28). Age, weight, sex, and the use of efavirenz-based ART were independently associated with lumbar spine BMD (adjusted R 2 = 0.13). CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin D status, use of efavirenz or lopinavir/ritonavir, weight, age and sex are significantly associated with lower BMD in this young cohort of HIV-infected South Africans.