Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that is characterized by profound immunodeficiency, opportunistic infections and Kaposi's sarcoma.

As yet no effective therapy is available for AIDS, though retroviral drugs are able to prolong life and contain HIV proliferation to some extent.

I propose that essential fatty acids (EFAs) and their metabolites could be useful in the prevention and management of AIDS.

Linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA) inactivate enveloped viruses, linolenic acid-enriched macrophages are markedly tumoricidal, EFAs activate macrophages and neutrophils and induce free radical generation; and cytokines bring about some of their actions by inducing the release of EFAs; gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) prevent genetic damage and have tumoricidal actions as well; and are relatively non-toxic when administered orally or parentarally over long periods of time.

In view of this, I suggest that further studies with regard to the role of GLA, AA, EPA and/or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the pathobiology of AIDS needs to be performed.

It is also proposed that possible use of these fatty acids in the prevention and treatment of AIDS needs serious consideration.