Osteonecrosis, literally 'bone death', is caused by poor blood supply to an area of bone. Like the other bone disorder osteoporosis, osteonecrosis has only recently emerged as an HIV-related condition. It is not an AIDS-defining condition.1,2,3,4,5,6

Osteonecrosis is also known as avascular necrosis and aseptic necrosis.

A study conducted by researchers at the United States National Institute of Health (NIH) found that osteonecrosis was very common among people with HIV. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan found that 4% of 339 HIV-infected volunteers had osteonecrosis, a surprisingly high proportion. However, many of those affected had no symptoms such as hip pain.7 Another study found that people with HIV may be up to one hundred more likely to develop osteonecrosis than their HIV-negative counterparts.8


  1. Gaughan DM et al. Osteonecrosis of the hip (Legg-Calve-Perthes disease) in human immunodeficiency virus-infected children. Pediatrics 109: E74-E84, 2002
  2. Gérard M et al. Avascular necrosis (AVN) in HIV-infected patient treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Fifth International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection, Glasgow, abstract P186, 2000
  3. Glesby MJ et al. Case control study of avascular necrosis in HIV-infected patients. Antivir Ther 5: S21, 2000
  4. Keruly JC et al. Increasing incidence of avascular necrosis of the hip in HIV-infected patients. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 28: 101-102, 2001
  5. Low P et al. Bilateral osteonecrosis of femoral heads in an AIDS patient on HAART. Fifth International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection, Glasgow, abstract P187, 2000
  6. Roudiere L et al. Osteonecrosis on antiretroviral therapy. Antivir Ther 5: S43, 2000
  7. Miller KD et al. High prevalence of osteonecrosis of the femoral head in HIV-infected adults. Ann Intern Med 137: 17-25, 2002
  8. Morse CG et al. The incidence and natural history of osteonecrosis in HIV-infected adults. Clin Infect Dis 44(5):739-48, 2007
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap