The greater the number of times people with HIV have switched antiretroviral (ARV) drug regimens, the more likely they are to have low bone mineral density (BMD), MedPage Today reports.  Researchers presented their findings from a study of 210 HIV-positive participants at the 7th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2013) in Kuala Lumpur.

The study, which also included 264 HIV-negative participants who were selected because they had similar demographics to the HIV-positive group, examined various clinical measures, as well as laboratory data and medication histories. BMD was measured through an annual dual x-ray absorptiometry at the femoral neck and lumbar spine.

After a statistical analysis, the researchers found that each additional ARV regimen someone with HIV had taken during their time living with the virus, BMD loss at the neck was -0.011 grams per square centimeter. Meanwhile, the lumbar spine suffered a loss of -0.105 g/cm2.

Switching drug regimens does not necessarily cause the lowered BMD, however.  The number of regimens is itself likely correlated with increased drug toxicity, drug resistance and lower adherence to ARVs.

To read the MedPage Today story, click here.

To read the IAS abstract, click here.