HIV Infection and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome AIDS

AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It can be transmitted during unprotected sex, from contaminated needles shared by intravenous drug users, and from a pregnant mother to her baby. HIV invades white blood cells (T cells), multiplies, and then destroys the cells. As T cell counts fall, the cellular immune response weakens, increasing vulnerability to infection and cancer. Many people infected with HIV carry the virus for years without developing AIDS: only about one in four HIV-infected people develop AIDS in the first 5 years after initial infection. Many remain healthy carriers of HIV, while others progress quickly to AIDS. In HIV disease, a critical determinant of progression is nutritional status. A combination of carefully selected diet, prudent micronutrient supplementation, moderate exercise, and a supportive social environment can maintain optimum immune function and, along with effective drug therapy, can slow progression of the disease.21-23

Days after beginning trial

Fig. 5.19: Micronutrient deficiencies and HIV-related mortality. A high prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies is found in HIV-positive adults: 89% are deficient in at least one micronutrient and 41 % have multiple abnormalities. An increased risk of HIV-related mortality was associated with micronutrient deficiencies in 125 HIV-positive men and women followed for 3.5 years. Particularly dramatic was the nearly 20-fold increase in risk of mortality in selenium-deficient individuals. (Adapted from Baum MK, et al. Nutr Rev. 1998; 56:S135)

Days after beginning trial

Fig. 5.19: Micronutrient deficiencies and HIV-related mortality. A high prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies is found in HIV-positive adults: 89% are deficient in at least one micronutrient and 41 % have multiple abnormalities. An increased risk of HIV-related mortality was associated with micronutrient deficiencies in 125 HIV-positive men and women followed for 3.5 years. Particularly dramatic was the nearly 20-fold increase in risk of mortality in selenium-deficient individuals. (Adapted from Baum MK, et al. Nutr Rev. 1998; 56:S135)

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