There are an estimated 33 million people infected with HIV worldwide – 1.2 million of them in the US. The advent in 1996 of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) – a combination of different classes of medications taken daily – means that for many patients who have access to the medication, what was once a fatal diagnosis can now be managed as a chronic disease.
For their study, Prof. Ezeamama and colleagues examined 18 months of data for 398 HIV-positive adults on HAART.
The data included a measure of participants’ vitamin D levels at the start of the trial (baseline) and their CD4 cell counts at months 0, 3, 6, 12 and 18.
In their analysis, the researchers looked at how the changes in CD4 cell counts related to the baseline levels of vitamin D over the study period.
They found that participants with sufficient levels of vitamin D at baseline recovered more of their immune function than participants with vitamin D deficiency.