are common and compound the effects of human immunodeficiency virus infection in
Africa. Nutritional interventions, particularly vitamin A supplementation, may
improve immune functioning and delay disease progression.
The prevalence of diabetes in HIV -infected men taking antiretroviral drugs is more than four times higher than in HIV-negative men. Today's powerful anti- HIV drugs -- for those who have access to them -- have turned HIV into a manageable, chronic disease, however, these anti- HIV drugs have serious side effects.
A randomized trial of multivitamin supplements and HIV disease progression and mortality.
N Engl J Med. 2004.
Results from observational studies suggest that micronutrient status is a determinant of the progression of human immunodeficiency virus ( HIV ) disease. We enrolled 1078 pregnant women infected with HIV in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to examine the effects of daily supplements of vitamin A (preformed vitamin A and beta carotene), multivitamins (vitamins B, C, and E), or both on progression of HIV disease, using survival models. The median follow-up with respect to survival was 71 months. Of 271 women who received multivitamins, 67 had progression to World Health Organization (WHO) stage 4 disease or died--the primary outcome--as compared with 83 of 267 women who received placebo. This regimen was also associated with reductions in the relative risk of death related to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, progression to WHO stage 4, or progression to stage 3 or higher. Multivitamins also resulted in significantly higher CD4+ and CD8+ cell counts and significantly lower viral loads. The effects of receiving vitamin A alone were smaller and for the most part not significantly different from those produced by placebo. Adding vitamin A to the multivitamin regimen reduced the benefit with regard to some of the end points examined. CONCLUSIONS: Multivitamin supplements delay the progression of HIV disease and provide an effective, low-cost means of delaying the initiation of antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected women.
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