Selenium and HIV-1: Hope or hype?

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Archives of Internal Medicine

We read with great interest the article by Hurwitz et al on the impact of selenium supplementation in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Studies examining the association between micronutrients and HIV, particularly prospective studies, have been limited to date. Hurwitz et al evaluated the association between selenium supplementation and HIV-1 viral load in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 262 HIV-infected adults. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 viral load and CD4 cell count were checked at baseline and at 9 months. Selenium plasma levels and medication adherence were monitored monthly. Based on their results, the authors concluded that daily selenium supplementation can be used as “a simple, inexpensive, and safe adjunct therapy in HIV spectrum disease.” Using the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) guidelines for publication of randomized controlled trials as well as our assessment of data presented, we found several shortcomings of this study that call into question whether this conclusion is justified.

Passaretti C, Gupta A. Selenium and HIV-1: Hope or hype? Arch Intern Med. 2007 Dec 10; 167(22) 2530-31, (Comment on Hurwitz BE, Arch Intern Med 2007; 167(2):148-54). doi:10.1001/archinte.167.22.2530-b.