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Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 May;17(9):1218-32.

Vitamin D deficiency in HIV infection: an underestimated and undertreated epidemic.

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Department of Clinical and Molecular Biomedicine, University of Catania, Italy.


Hypovitaminosis D is a very common disorder, regarding both Western and developing countries. A growing amount of data over the last years have shown vitamin D deficiency to be high prevalent among HIV-positive subjects. In addition to "classic" risk factors, such as female sex, low dietary intake, dark skin pigmentation and low sun exposure, HIV-related factors, including immune activation and antiretroviral adverse effects, may affect vitamin D status. Even if both protease inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors have been associated with low vitamin D levels, available evidences have failed to univocally associate hypovitaminosis D with specific antiretroviral class effects. Low vitamin D is known to have a negative impact not only on bone health, but also on neurocognitive, metabolic, cardiovascular and immune functions. Similarly to the general population, several studies conducted on HIV-infected subjects have associated hypovitaminosis D with a greater risk of developing osteopenia/osteoporosis and fragility fractures. Analogously, vitamin D deficiency has been described as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders, such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Last EACS guidelines suggest to screen for hypovitaminosis D every HIV-positive subject having a history of bone disease, chronic kidney disease or other known risk factors for vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D repletion is recommended when 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels are below 10 ng/ml. Furthermore, it may be indicated in presence of 25OHD values between 10 and 30 ng/ml, if associated with osteoporosis, osteomalacia or increased parathyroid hormone levels. The optimal repletion and maintenance dosing regimens remain to be established, as well as the impact of vitamin D supplementation in preventing comorbidities.

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