Micronutrients in HIV: A Bayesian meta-analysis


BACKGROUND: Approximately 28.5 million people living with HIV are eligible for treatment (CD4<500), but currently have no access to antiretroviral therapy. Reduced serum level of micronutrients is common in HIV disease. Micronutrient supplementation (MNS) may mitigate disease progression and mortality. OBJECTIVES: We synthesized evidence on the effect of micronutrient supplementation on mortality and rate of disease progression in HIV disease. METHODS: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central, AMED and CINAHL databases through December 2014, without language restriction, for studies of greater than 3 micronutrients versus any or no comparator. We built a hierarchical Bayesian random effects model to synthesize results. Inferences are based on the posterior distribution of the population effects; posterior distributions were approximated by Markov chain Monte Carlo in OpenBugs. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: From 2166 initial references, we selected 49 studies for full review and identified eight reporting on disease progression and/or mortality. Bayesian synthesis of data from 2,249 adults in three studies estimated the relative risk of disease progression in subjects on MNS vs. control as 0.62 (95% credible interval, 0.37, 0.96). Median number needed to treat is 8.4 (4.8, 29.9) and the Bayes Factor 53.4. Based on data reporting on 4,095 adults reporting mortality in 7 randomized controlled studies, the RR was 0.84 (0.38, 1.85), NNT is 25 (4.3, infinity). CONCLUSIONS: MNS significantly and substantially slows disease progression in HIV+ adults not on ARV, and possibly reduces mortality. Micronutrient supplements are effective in reducing progression with a posterior probability of 97.9%. Considering MNS low cost and lack of adverse effects, MNS should be standard of care for HIV+ adults not yet on ARV.


Carter GM, Indyk D, Johnson M, Andreae M, Suslov K, Busani S, Esmaeili A, Sacks HS.




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
    • Other
  • Prevention
    • Biomedical interventions


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