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Editor's Correspondence
December 10/24, 2007

Selenium and HIV-1: Hope or Hype?

Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(22):2530-2531. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.22.2530-b

We read with great interest the article by Hurwitz et al1 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.2 Hurwitz et al1 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.”1(p153) Using the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) guidelines for publication of randomized controlled trials3 as well as our assessment of data presented, we found several shortcomings of this study that call into question whether this conclusion is justified.

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