Iron intake is positively associated with viral load in antiretroviral naïve Brazilian men living with HIV

BACKGROUND Iron homeostasis contribute for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pathogenesis. OBJECTIVES We assessed the iron intake pattern in antiretroviral naïve Brazilian men living with HIV correlating with clinical and nutritional parameters. METHODS The iron consumption mean was estimated according to a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), and a 3-day food record (3dFR) submitted to the patients. HIV viral load, CD4+ T cell counts, serum iron, haematological and anthropometrics parameters were recorded. FINDINGS Fifty-one HIV-infected adult men naïve for antiretroviral therapy (ART) were enrolled. The mean age of participants was 35 (SEM ± 1.28) years old, with mean time of HIV-1 infection of 1.78 (0-16.36, min-max) years. Majority (41.18%) had complete secondary, and 21.57% had tertiary educational level. The income was around 1x (54.90%) to 2x (41.18%) minimum wage. Fifty-four percent showed normal weight, while 40% were overweight. The patients showed normal mean values of haematological parameters, and mean serum iron was 14.40 µM (SEM ± 0.83). The FFQ showed moderate correlation with the 3dFR (ρ = 0.5436, p = 0.0009), and the mean values of iron intake were 10.55(± 0.92) mg/day, recorded by FFQ, and 15.75(± 1.51) mg/day, recorded by 3dFR. The iron intake, recorded by FFQ, negatively correlated with serum iron (ρ = -0.3448, p = 0.0132), and did not have influence in the CD4+ T cell counts [e.B 0.99 (0.97-1.01, 95% confidence interval (CI), p = 0.2]. However, the iron intake showed a positive effect in HIV viral load [e.B 1.12 (1.02-1.25, 95%CI), p < 0.01]. MAIN CONCLUSIONS This study draws attention for the importance of iron intake nutritional counseling in people living with HIV. However, more studies are required to clarify the association between high iron intake and HIV infection and outcome.