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Supplements Can Hike Transmission Risk

Supplements Can Hike Transmission Risk


Micronutritional supplements, particularly multivitamins that contain selenium, might increase the vaginal shedding of HIV in women, boosting the risk that they could transmit the virus to their sex partners, notes a study in the December 15 edition of Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Researchers studied more than 350 HIV-positive women in Kenya, 179 of whom were given micronutrient supplements that included multivitamin and mineral pills. At the six-week point of the study the researchers recorded a 2.5-fold greater likelihood of developing detectable levels of HIV in vaginal secretions among the women taking the vitamin and mineral supplements and also noted a higher vaginal viral load in these study subjects. Supplement users also were more likely, however, to have posted better increases in CD4-cell levels. HIV viral levels were unaffected.

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