Read the open access research: http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g3187
Access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) has improved substantially in sub Saharan Africa over the past decade, but high rates of mortality are still reported, especially in the first few months of treatment.
Poor nutritional status at start of ART has been identified as a predictor of mortality independent of immune status while patients who gain weight in the early phase of treatment have improved prognosis. Nutritional support is becoming an integral part of ART programmes in African countries, and various supplements are now widely distributed. At present, however, there is little evidence on the effects of supplementation.
In this study the researchers from Denmark and Ethopia set out to determine the effects of lipid based nutritional supplements with either whey or soy protein in patients with HIV during the first three months of antiretroviral treatment and to explore effects of timing by comparing supplementation at the start of ART and after three months delay.