Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a result of infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1 or HIV-2) which eventually destroys subset CD4+ helper T lymphocytes. This results in enhanced susceptibility to opportunistic infection and neoplasms. Oxidative stress plays a major role in the progression of HIV infection to AIDS and has been suggested to contribute to the decline in CD4+ lymphocytes. The existence of oxidative stress in HIV infection and AIDS is exemplified by the excess production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and a general loss of antioxidant defenses in HIV-infected patients. Therefore, the reduction of oxidative stress by antioxidant treatment may be a desirable therapy during the asymptotic HIV infection as well as advanced AIDS.
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