Every day, 6,000 people under the age of 25 are newly infected with HIV/AIDS. Every hour, 40 children die of AIDS. In the developing world, more teachers die every year of AIDS than can be trained to take their place. And more than half of hospital beds in some Sub-Saharan African countries are frequently occupied with AIDS patients, crowding out care for others. Virtually all social and economic goals in the developing world will be undermined if AIDS treatment is not made available to the more than six million people who are currently struggling to survive without it.
Today, there are:
- 33 million adults and children living with HIV/AIDS
- 2.5 million new infections in 2007
- 2.1 million deaths due to HIV/AIDS in 2007, including 330,000 children
HIV encodes for one of the human glutathione peroxidases. As a result, as it is replicated it deprives HIV-seropositive individuals of the selenoenzyme glutathione peroxidase and its four key components, namely selenium, cysteine, glutamine and tryptophan. Slowly but surely, this depletion process causes severe deficiencies of all these nutrients. Their lack, in turn, is behind the major symptoms of AIDS, including the collapse of the immune system, increased susceptibility to cancer, myocardial infarction, depression, muscle wasting, diarrhea, psychosis and dementia.
Study confirms importance of nutrition in HIV/AIDS
A study conducted in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu shows that good nutrition dramatically increases the CD4 count and reduces opportunistic infections in HIV/AIDS patients. A study jointly undertaken by the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TNSACS) and Duke University has found that nutritional supplements greatly improved the health and quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS. The 18-month study on more than 10,500 people with HIV/AIDS in Tamil Nadu may be the biggest of its kind ever conducted in India. It started in September 2005 in three centres that provide antiretroviral therapy (ART), in 10 districts. The study involved the supply of both micro and macronutrients to people, both adults and children, who were on ART, as well as those who did not require it.
Study shows the micronutrient (selenium) may interfere with protein that helps HIV virus replicate.
The micronutrient selenium, touted in some studies for cancer-fighting properties, may also slow the progress of the AIDS virus, says K. Sandeep Prabhu, assistant professor of immunology and molecular toxicology at Penn State. In lab tests he and his colleagues conducted with human blood cells, Prabhu says, "We have found that increasing the expression of proteins that contain selenium negatively affects the replication of HIV. Our results suggest a reduction of at least tenfold."
Click the video above to watch Dr. Foster explain What Really Causes AIDS (9 min)