July #125 : Skeleton Key - by Liz Highleyman

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Table of Contents

Barely Legal

Speaking of Sex...

La Cage Air Force


Mouthing Off

Skeleton Key

Sneak Previews

The Big Queasy

Measurements, Please

Mass Coverage

Converse All Star

Trainer’s Bench-July 2006

Get Back

The Hunger

Preaching to the Seroconverted

Dead Men Walking

Meth Madness

Buzz Kill

Accounting 101

Kindle Kids

The Keys to Uganda

Under the Counter

Positive Bling

Editor's Letter-July 2006

Mailbox-July 2006

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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July 2006

Skeleton Key

by Liz Highleyman

Positive women get a negative report on bone loss

As if tired bones weren’t enough, a new study shows that middle-aged HIV positive women are more likely to have bone loss than their negative sisters. Most past research on bone loss (osteopenia or the more advanced osteoporosis) was done in positive men and didn’t make comparisons to those without HIV. In the April 1st issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Julia Arnsten, MD, of New York’s Montefiore Medical Center, compared 263 positive and 232 negative women age 40 or older—most not yet menopausal—with similar risk profiles such as being overweight or, for some, a history of heroin or cocaine use. Overall, 27% of the positive women had some bone loss in the hips and spine, compared with 19% of the negative women. The HIV link appeared in white and Latina women but not black women.

Bone thinning didn’t correlate to length of infection, nor was it linked to HIV meds, which had been fingered in some previous studies. The causes remain mysterious, though hormone levels may be involved. Arnsten recommends regular bone-density screening.

Also be sure to exercise, shun cigarettes and chug vitamin D and calcium. You’ll find vitamin D in milk products, fatty fish (like tuna), eggs and nuts. Calcium lurks in dairy foods, tofu, broccoli and kale and canned fish with bones (like sardines). Consult your doctor about how much you need. If your diet doesn’t supply enough, add a supplement that is not made from bonemeal or oyster shells, which can harbor unwanted metals (try carbonate or citrate). Bone voyage.     

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