A new study that has come out of Africa shows that multivitamins and supplements of selenium can help people who have AIDS but are not being treated for it. The study was done in Africa because most people in the US who contract HIV quickly go on anti-retroviral medicines immediately after diagnosis. So many people in Africa do not have access to these medicines so they are often left untreated as the HIV turns into AIDS and then they become sicker as the years go on.
The thought is that people can take these multivitamins before they start the drugs because it will help them to boost their immune system. Often times when people with HIV eat they are not getting all of the nutrients that they should from the food, which can lead to them becoming sicker over time. The study was aiming to show that people who took a course of multivitamins and selenium could be helped to hold off the virus until they were ready to go on the anti-retroviral drugs.
The study consisted of 900 HIV patients from Botswana. They were placed into one of four groups. They were either given a placebo or they were given a multivitamin with high concentrations of vitamin B, C, E. The other group was given the multivitamins plus a selenium supplement. The final group took the selenium supplement only.
The results of the study showed that those who took the placebo, the multivitamins by themselves, and the selenium by themselves still had a normal progression of AIDS. However, those who took the multivitamin and selenium together progressed to AIDS twice as slowly. This could be great news for people who cannot afford the anti-retroviral drugs right away or have immediate access to them as vitamin supplements are cheap.