Micronutrients such as selenium, zinc, and chromium are important. Their mutations have been linked to the development of HIV illness, metabolic problems, and death. This is a cross-sectional study of children in Uganda who had perinatally acquired HIV, HIV-exposed uninfected children, and HIV-unexposed uninfected children aged 2 to 10 years old. PHIV patients were receiving sustained antiretroviral treatment (ART) and had an undetectable viral load. Researchers evaluated selenium, zinc, and chromium levels in the blood, as well as indicators of systemic inflammation, monocyte activation, and gut integrity. Among PHIV children, 93 percent had a viral load of 20 copies/mL, 37 percent had a median CD4, and 77 percent were on a non-nucleotide reserve transcriptase regimen. The average age of all participants was 8 years old, with females accounting for 55% of the total. Lower IL6, sTNFRI and II, and greater beta d glucan, a measure of fungal translocation, zonulin, a marker of gut permeability, oxidized LDL, and insulin resistance were linked with increased selenium but not chromium or zinc.
There is a significant incidence of poor zinc status overall in this cohort of PHIV on ART in Uganda. Higher levels of selenium in the blood were linked to lower levels of systemic inflammation and higher levels of gut integrity indicators. Although our data do not support the widespread use of micronutrient supplementation for PHIV in Uganda, more research is needed to determine the function of selenium supplements in reducing heightened inflammation.