Special nutritional requirements for people living with HIV/AIDS


Key take-home messages
  • The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamins and minerals, as defined by the US Food and Nutrition Board30, is most often not sufficient for people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs).
  • In comparison with HIV-negative individuals, PHAs have lower serum levels of the following micronutrients: zinc, magnesium, iron, selenium, prealbumin, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, B-6, and B-12 Vitamins.
  • Findings from several studies suggest that there is an association between low serum levels of these nutrients and faster disease progression to AIDS.
  • Supplementation of vitamins and minerals has been found to slow disease progression significantly in some studies.
  • However, other studies have stated that is unclear if supplementation with micronutrients has any measurable impact on the progression of HIV disease.
  • Malnutrition should be detected, treated and monitored early, in order to improve a PHA’s chances of survival and their quality of life.
  • Data from the literature cannot be used to develop specific evidence based dietary guidelines for micronutrients because of methodological limitations in several studies.


The Ontario HIV Treatment Network: Rapid Response Service




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population


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