The mineral has been found to suppress the progression of HIV–1 viral load and improve CD4 counts.
For the study, 262 HIV-positive men and women were randomly assigned to receive 200mg daily of selenium or a placebo. The nine-month follow-up assessment was completed by 174 participants.
Intention-to-treat analysis indicated that blood selenium levels were 32µg/l in the selenium group, compared with 0.5µg/l in those given placebo.
Patients whose level of blood selenium increased by 26.1µg/l or more had an average increase in CD4 count of 27.9cells/µl and a decrease in HIV-1 viral load. But those with a blood selenium level below 26.1µg/l did not have any increase in CD4 count.
These findings were significant after age, gender, ethnicity, HIV symptom classification and time since diagnosis was considered.