According to a recent study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), preventing HIV progression could be as simple as taking a daily multivitamin. This randomized clinical trial looked at a 897 HIV-positive patients in Sub-Saharan Africa who had not yet started therapy with antiretroviral agents (ARTs) between 2004-2009. Patients were either given multivitamin containing vitamins B, C & E in combination with Selenium, Selenium without a multivitamin or placebo. Although the results do not show a reduction in viral load, patients taking a multivitamin in combination with Selenium were significantly less likely to have an increased CD-4 count and were less susceptible to immune decline and morbidity. It is thought that the multivitamins are essential in maintaining a functioning immune system and that Selenium may have a role in preventing HIV replication. Although Botswana is a population in Sub-Saharan Africa with the highest rates of HIV infection and limited in resources, this study may have an impact on any population of HIV-positive patients who are naive to ART therapy. What do you think of these findings? Do you think that preventing micronutrient deficiencies will help in any population at risk for HIV?
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