Osteonecrosis in HIV disease: epidemiology, etiologies, and clinical management

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Osteonecrosis has been increasingly associated with HIV disease throughout the 1990s, and the incidence appears to be rising. The hip is most commonly involved and often bilaterally. Although anecodotal reports suggest an association between osteonecrosis and highly active antiretroviral therapy, controlled epidemiologic studies do not support a direct link. Many patients with osteonecrosis have established risk factors, some of which may be related to HIV disease or its therapy, including corticosteroid use and hyperlipidemia. Alcoholism, hypercoagulability, megesterol acetate use, immune reconstitution, and other factors may also contribute. Plain radiographs and magnetic resonance imaging are the cornerstones of diagnosis. Management is dependent on the stage of bone disease and ranges from observation to total joint arthroplasty. Clinicians may help to prevent HIV-associated osteonecrosis by encouraging patients to limit their exposure to the established risk factors for the disease.

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