The development of combination antiretroviral therapies (cART) represents a significant advance in the treatment of (human immunodeficiency virus) HIV infection. However, several studies report that a large percentage of individuals with HIV, particularly those receiving cART, present body composition differences compared with the general population. The aim of this study was to explore body composition differences by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), among HIV-positive patients receiving cART, in comparison to healthy controls.
The cross-sectional study included 60 HIV-infected patients (all under 50 years old). We analyzed the association of antiretroviral medication use and different HIV-related factors, to the body composition parameters.
Our cohort had significantly lower fat mass and lower bone mass compared to non HIV-infected persons. Median time since HIV infection diagnosis was 5 years (interquartile range, [IQR], 2-10.25) and viral suppression was achieved in 49 (81.66%) patients. Treatment with protease inhibitors (PIs) was strongly correlated with low fat mass, reduced lean mass and loss of bone mineral density. Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs)-containing treatment was associated with decrease of lean tissue mass (LM). The prevalence of osteopenia was 41.67% at the lumbar spine (L1-L4) and 36.7% at the hip. We found osteoporosis in 10% of the patients at the lumbar spine. Reduced bone mass was associated, in the patient group, with the duration of PIs use and with smoking (in the males group).
In our research, HIV-infected individuals compared to healthy controls had body composition differences, including fat mass atrophy and reduced bone mineral content.