AIDS Treatment News logo      

July 26, 2009

Zinc Supplements Prevent Immune Decline in Chronic Substance Users

"Chronic drug users who were treated with zinc supplements were less likely to see their CD4 counts fall below 200 than people taking a placebo, according to a study presented at the Fifth International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Cape Town. ...

"For the first 12 months of the study there was no statistical difference between the two groups. By the 18th month, however, people on the placebo were four times as likely to reach immunologic failure as those who got zinc supplements. This result held up even when controlling for age, gender, lack of food, baseline CD4, viral load and ARV therapy."

Read more in POZ, July 23, 2009.

Comment: This result suggests that the supplement was working in the first year, but the study had not reached statistical significance yet. Looking for treatment failure only gives one data point per patient, so it's hard to fund and enroll studies big enough and long-lasting enough to get statistical proof.