Study co-author Dr. Bill G. Kapogiannis of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development said the young men in the study did not have HIV at birth and had been diagnosed an average of two years before the start of the study.
Earlier studies have shown adults with HIV also have bone loss and increased risk for bone fractures, associated in part with the use of certain anti-HIV medications, Kapogiannis said.
"The young men in the study had been taking anti-HIV medications for a comparatively short time, yet they still had lower bone mineral density than other men their age," Kapogiannis said in a statement. "These findings suggest a short-term impact of HIV therapy on bone at ages when people are still growing and building bone mass. This raises concern about the risk of fracture as they age."
Kapogiannis and colleagues found bone density for HIV-infected young men was 5 percent to 8 percent lower in the hip, and 2 percent to 4 percent lower in the spine, than for study participants without HIV.
The researchers recommend these patients be monitored, advised to exercise and take vitamin D to prevent future fracture risk.
The findings were published the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.