March #45 : Hit the Dirt - by Lark Lands

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Table of Contents

Dog Days in Malibu


Born in Flames

Gay Guru

Soldier of Fortune

Rare Gem

Marathon Man

On the Waterfront

Race With the Angels

Mean Streets


To the Editor

Ticket to Ride

Death by Disclosure

Slip Off the Old Block

Poster of the Month: Ruff Times


Say What

HIV in the Hood

No Brownie Points

Grades for AIDS

French Twist

Southern Discomfort

Sister Act Up

Sister Act Up


POZarazzi: Call It a Day

Verse: Terminal Girl

Primary Concerns


Naming Names

Fast Company

Junk Mail

Life After Legacy

Spin Doctors

PWAs’ Best Friend

What’s Up, Doc?

HIV’s Incredible Endgame

The ABCs of Baby AZT

Hit the Dirt

Selling Sustiva

Publish or Perish

Best of the Rest

Where to Find It

What a Waste

Full Disclosure

People, Their Pets and Pet Peeves

Parental Guidance

Aunt Evelyn's Letters

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

email print

March 1999

Hit the Dirt

by Lark Lands

The latest potential HIV therapy comes from a surprising place: topsoil. A new study suggests that the mineral selenium (nontoxic in appropriate doses) could slow disease progression. Selenium plays an important role in the body’s antioxidant defense system and its maintenance of immune responses, and—if test-tube evidence pans out—may actually help prevent HIV replication. This may explain why University of Miami researchers found a dramatically elevated risk of death for selenium-deficient HIVers. After three and a half years of following 125 HIV positive men and women, the relative risk of death—even when adjusted for baseline CD4 counts under 200 and CD4 counts over time—was shown to be almost 20 times greater for those with low selenium levels. The study tied other nutrient deficiencies to less dramatic, but still greatly increased, chances of death—vitamin A (a risk 3.23 times higher), vitamin B-12 (8.33), and zinc (2.91), as well as not-yet-apparent malnutrition, as shown by low blood levels of prealbumin (4.01).

Following up on multiple studies that have shown widespread selenium deficiencies among PWAs, the researchers have begun a 328-person trial to assess the effects of 200-microgram daily doses of the mineral on disease progression and viral changes that might reduce replication.

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