(HealthDay News) – Micronutrient supplementation reduces the risk of immune decline and morbidity in adults with early-stage HIV disease who have not yet initiated antiretroviral therapy (ART), according to research published in the Nov. 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Marianna K. Baum, PhD, of Florida International University in Miami, and colleagues randomly assigned 878 adults with early-stage HIV subtype C disease, who were ART naive, to receive multivitamins plus selenium, multivitamins alone, selenium alone, or placebo. The authors sought to investigate the effects of long-term micronutrient supplementation on delaying disease progression.

The researchers found that, compared with placebo, participants receiving multivitamins plus selenium were significantly less likely to reach a CD4 cell count of <250/µL (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.46) or experience secondary events of combined outcomes for disease progression, including CD4 cell count of <250/µL, AIDS-defining conditions, or AIDS-related death, whichever occurred earlier (aHR, 0.56). Supplementation did not affect viral load. No statistically significant effect on any end point was observed for multivitamins alone, or selenium alone, compared with placebo. The incidence of HIV-related and health-related events did not seem to differ among the groups.

“In ART-naive HIV-infected adults, 24-month supplementation with a single supplement containing multivitamins and selenium was safe and significantly reduced the risk of immune decline and morbidity,” the authors write.

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