DETROIT (WWJ) – A new study examines whether supplements can make a difference in the fight against HIV and the results even surprised doctors.

Doctors in Florida say when they gave multivitamins – B, C and E – plus selenium to HIV-infected patients in Africa who didn’t get the standard anti-retroviral therapy, it delayed the progression of their disease, and reduced the risk of immune decline and illness.

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The study’s author, Doctor Marianna Baum, says supplement therapy can make a difference in countries where many early stage patients aren’t eligible to receive medication needed to treat HIV.

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“We thought that the multivitamins alone were going to be effective and that selenium alone as well as the combination,” said Baum. “And we were surprised to find only the combination was effective.”

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The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week.