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Trop Med Int Health. 2011 Dec;16(12):1474-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2011.02871.x. Epub 2011 Sep 7.

Efficacy and safety of zinc supplementation for adults, children and pregnant women with HIV infection: systematic review.

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Department of Pharmacy, West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan, China.



To determine the efficacy and safety of zinc supplementary in children, adults and pregnant women with HIV infection.


We conducted a comprehensive search in Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Library, CBM, VIP and CNKI. Only randomized controlled trials conducted subsequent to the introduction of zinc supplementation were included in this systematic review. Two reviewers assessed and extracted data for analysis.


Six trials with a total of 1009 participants were included. The findings in this review suggested a benefit of zinc supplementation in reducing opportunistic infection for both adults and children with HIV infection. In terms of increase in zinc level and CD4 counts, however, only adults with HIV infection benefited. For other outcomes, such as viral load, mortality, mother-to-child transmission of HIV and foetal outcomes, zinc supplementation conferred no benefit over placebo. No adverse event related to zinc supplementation was found in all the included trials.


Based on the current evidence, zinc supplementation seems to be beneficial in adult patients with HIV infection in some aspects. More research is needed in children and pregnant women. The influence of zinc dose, duration and usage of antiretroviral medicine also requires further investigation.

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