Vitamin A supplementation for 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. Both HIV infection and pregnancy are considered to be risk factors for vitamin A deficiency.
During pregnancy, vitamin A is essential for maternal health and for the healthy development of the fetus. As vitamin A plays an important role in the immune function, it has been suggested that the provision of supplements containing this vitamin to HIV positive women may prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, but the evidence has been conflicting thus far.
Currently the WHO does not recommended vitamin A supplementation in HIV-positive women as a public health intervention for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Vitamin A supplementation in pregnancy for reducing the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV [pdf 448kb]
Other systematic reviews
Vitamin supplementation for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and pre-term delivery: a systematic review of randomized trial including more than 2800 women.
A systematic review of randomized controlled trials of prenatal and postnatal vitamin A supplementation of HIV-infected women.