Hurwitz et al1 present the results of a landmark placebo-controlled trial in the United States on the impact of a single daily selenium supplement on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease progression (as measured by HIV viral load and CD4 cell count after 9 months). Of the participants, 73% were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) (76% in those allocated to selenium and 72% in those allocated to placebo). Although only 174 of 262 participants (66%) who initiated treatment were available for follow-up at 9 months and mean adherence to study treatment was estimated to have been 73% using a computerized electronic medication-monitoring cap and 81% by pill counts, follow-up rates and adherence were similar in the selenium-supplemented and placebo groups. The trial showed that at the 9-month follow-up, having been allocated to the selenium supplementation group was associated with a substantial increase in serum selenium concentration compared with those allocated to placebo. There were no adverse events reported that were related to the study supplement. So far, so good.
Ross DA, Cousens S, Wedner SH, Sismanidis C. Does Selenium Supplementation Slow Progression of HIV? Potentially Misleading Presentation of the Results of a Trial. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(14):1555-1556. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.14.1555-c