Geography of HIV

A physician is obligated to consider more than a diseased organ, more even than the whole man - he must view the man in his world.

 Harvey Cushing

 

As with all diseases, there is a spatial distribution pattern of HIV/AIDS incidence and mortality across the globe. HIV/AIDS is most prevalent in regions of Africa which have low levels of selenium in the soil e.g. in countries such as Zaire, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa where prevalence can be as high as 42% and where AIDS is now the number one cause of death.1,2,3,4

                    

In contrast, there are a few countries in the world where HIV/AIDS incidence and mortality is very low which interestingly all have one thing in common – the high concentration of selenium in the soil. For example, the soils of Senegal are derived from marine sediments containing phosphorites that are selenium enriched, where the prevalence rates of adult HIV is only 1% (2007).5,6

Similarly, HIV infection rates are abnormally low in Bolivia (0.2% prevalence rate, 2007), a major exporter of selenium.7 In Finland, where the addition of selenium to fertilizers was mandated in 1984, HIV infection rates are 50% of the surrounding Nordic countries at 0.3% prevalence rate.8

This has led many scientists to study the role of selenium in the management of HIV/AIDS. Foster Health Inc. has studied this extensively, first looking at the role that selenium plays in the body, using scientific principles to establish why and how it seems to be protecting individuals from HIV infection. All of our research has centred on how we can address the distinctive nutritional requirements of PLWHA to naturally restore nutrient deficiency symptoms and immune system depression.

Sources:

  1. Cenac AM, Smonoff P, et al. A low plasma selenium is a risk factor for peripartum cardiomyopathy. A comparative study in Sahelian Africa. Int J Cardiol 1982; 36(1):57-9. and Van Tryssen J, Bradfield G. An assessment of the selenium, copper and zinc status of sheep on cultivated pastures in the Natal Midlands. J S Afr Vet Med Assoc 1992; 63(4):56-61.
  2. James M. Selenium: African studies reported at Durban. AIDS Treat News 2000(347):7.
  3. Ngo D, Kidassa L, et al. Selenium status in pregnant women of rural population (Zaire) in relationship to iodine deficiency. Trop Med Int Health 1997; 2(6):572-81. and Van Tryssen J, Bradfield G. An assessment of the selenium, copper and zinc status of sheep on cultivated pastures in the Natal Midlands. J S Afr Vet Med Assoc 1992; 63(4):56-61.
  4. Van Tryssen J, Bradfield G. An assessment of the selenium, copper and zinc status of sheep on cultivated pastures in the Natal Midlands. J S Afr Vet Med Assoc 1992; 63(4):56-61.
  5. Keller EA. Environmental Geology. New York: Macmillan; 1992.
  6. Family Health International HIV/AIDS Senegal. http://www.fhi.org/en/CountryProfiles/Senegal/index.htm
  7. USAID. HIV/AIDS Bolivia. http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/global_health/aids/Countries/lac/bolivia.html
  8. Foster HD. AIDS in Finland. J Orthomol Med 2005; 20(3):221-1.