There are likely benefits for people living with HIV who use probiotics, but larger studies are needed to assess the effect concern exists about ingesting live organisms. 

Henry S. Sacks, PhD, MD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and colleagues conducted a database review of studies regarding the benefits of probiotics and published their findings in Open Forum Infectious Diseases.

The researchers noted that their analysis suggested “possible benefits for CD4 count, recurrence or management of bacterial vaginosis and diarrhea management,” but, they said, the studies were limited in the fact that they were usually smaller and shorter duration. As such, the research team suggested that larger and longer studies are needed. The researchers noted that their findings support earlier data that suggest combining two strains may be more efficacious than just one. 

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“Studies among women to assess effects on vaginal, GI and microbicidal effects are warranted, as well as the use of lactobacilli in suppositories,” the researchers concluded. “Species of Lactobacilli in combination with other genera may have clinically meaningful effects among those with poor immunological response despite ARV; these subsets and impact on inflammatory markers deserve further scrutiny.”


Carter GM,  E Aryan, S Hardikkumar, Probiotics in HIV Infection: A Systematic Review and Evidence Synthesis of Benefits and Risks. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2016;doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofw164.