HIV and AIDS Introduction

Vitamin D may be beneficial in reducing the risk of AIDS.

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

As treatment can be very expensive, finding simple ways to reduce the risk and severity of this disease is an important goal.

Individuals with HIV/AIDS often have low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels. Low serum 25(OH)D levels have been linked to both increased risk of acquiring HIV and progression to AIDS.

In addition, treatment of HIV/AIDS with highly active antiretroviral therapy has been found to reduce serum 25(OH)D levels and bone mass density.

Vitamin D is likely beneficial in reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS through induction of cathelicidin and defensins, which have been found to reduce the risk of other viral and bacterial infections.

Patients with HIV/AIDS should consider having their serum 25(OH)D levels measured and then increase oral intake to increase levels to the 30-40 ng/mL range, however being careful to monitor any adverse effects of doing so such as hypercalcemia.

Page last edited: 14 May 2011