Musculoskeletal Manifestations of HIV Infection

Ann-Marie Plate, MD, Brian A. Boyle, MD


AIDS Read. 2003;13(2) 

In This Article


Musculoskeletal disorders are relatively common during the course of HIV infection, although they are more prevalent in the late stages of disease. These disorders cause a significant amount of morbidity, and occasionally mortality, in HIV-infected patients, and some chronic musculoskeletal disorders may cause a significant decrease in the patient's quality of life. This column will focus on the most common musculoskeletal disorders HIV clinicians are likely to encounter and will provide a review of the most recent literature on each disorder.

The spectrum of musculoskeletal disorders in HIV-infected patients ranges from myopathies and arthralgias to rheumatic disorders such as Reiter syndrome and psoriatic arthritis. Infection and septic arthritis are also common entities. The prevalence of inflammatory musculoskeletal manifestations remains uncertain; however, studies indicate that the prevalence of these disorders may be influenced by the risk factors responsible for HIV infection: patients who use injection drugs or have hemophilia are more susceptible to septic arthritis and osteomyelitis, whereas Reiter syndrome is more common among homosexual HIV-infected patients.[1]