e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA)

Vitamin A supplementation in HIV-infected women during pregnancy

Over 1000 new cases of mother-to-child transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) occur worldwide every day, making this the main route of transmission of HIV infection in children. Vitamin A deficiency also affects about 19 million pregnant women, mostly from the WHO regions of Africa and South-East Asia, and has been associated with an increase in the risk of transmission of HIV from mother to child.

During pregnancy, vitamin A is essential for maternal health and for the healthy development of the fetus. As vitamin A also plays an important role in immune function, it has been suggested that providing vitamin A supplements to HIV positive women during pregnancy may reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Results from studies to date are inconsistent however, with the majority providing no clear indication of benefit.

WHO recommendations

Vitamin A supplementation in HIV-positive pregnant women is not recommended as a public health intervention for reducing the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

WHO documents

GRC-approved guidelines


Systematic reviews used to develop the guidelines
Related systematic reviews
Clinical trials

Last update:

23 October 2014 12:27 CEST

Category 1 intervention

Guidelines have been recently approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee


Implementation of this intervention is not recommended