Abstract

HIV infection is a global disease that disproportionately burdens populations with nutritional vulnerabilities. Laboratory experiments have shown that selenium has an inhibitory effect on HIV in vitro through antioxidant effects of glutathione peroxidase and other selenoproteins. Numerous studies have reported low selenium status in HIV-infected individuals, and serum selenium concentration declines with disease progression. Some cohort studies have shown an association between selenium deficiency and progression to AIDS or mortality. In several randomized controlled trials, selenium supplementation has reduced hospitalizations and diarrheal morbidity, and improved CD4+ cell counts, but the evidence remains mixed. Additional trials are recommended to study the effect of selenium supplementation on opportunistic infections, and other HIV disease-related comorbidities in the context of highly active antiretroviral therapy in both developing and developed countries.

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