Medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infection are highly effective at controlling HIV infection and allowing people to live long lives with HIV. However, HIV medications can also have side effects including moderate weakening of the bones, especially during the first year of treatment. Over time, this can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fracture (broken bones). For these reasons, our research team is investigating whether bone-building medications might benefit people who are starting HIV treatment.

This study compares participants taking a bone-building study drug (called alendronate with vitamin D, or FosavanceĀ®) once a week for 6 months starting immediately, starting six months after entering the study, or taking no study drug. The purpose of the study is to collect information about the health effects, acceptability and feasibility of this strategy in people starting HIV treatment, and to properly design a larger study in the future. The study drug and dosage being used in this study has been licensed for medical use by Health Canada for people with osteoporosis and for those at risk of getting osteoporosis. However, the use of the medication in this study is considered investigational because it has not been approved in people starting HIV treatment. In total, 30 people from 2 hospitals in Toronto will participate in this study, with approximately 20 from St. Michael’s Hospital.


This study was made possible through a grant from the Canadian HIV Trials Network.