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.
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.
Additional information for this recommendation can be found in the guidance summary and in the guideline, under 'WHO documents' below. This is one of several WHO recommendations on vitamin A supplementation. The full set of recommendations can be found in 'Full set of recommendations'.
Systematic reviews used to develop the guidelines
Related 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.