Vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy of HIV infected and non-infected women in tropical settings of Northwest Ethiopia


Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is known to be a major public health problem among women of reproductive age in South East Asia and Africa. In Ethiopia, there are no studies conducted on serum vitamin A status of HIV-infected pregnant women.

Therefore, the present study was aimed at determining the level of serum vitamin A and VAD among pregnant women with and without HIV infection in tropical settings of Northwest Ethiopia.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, blood samples were collected from 423 pregnant women and from 55 healthy volunteers who visited the University of Gondar Hospital. Serum concentration of vitamin A was measured by high performance liquid chromatography.

Results: After controlling for total serum protein, albumin and demographic variables, the mean +/- SD serum vitamin A in HIV seropositive pregnant women (0.96+/-0.42 umol/L) was significantly lower than that in pregnant women without HIV infection (1.10+/-0.45 umol/L, P<0.05).

Likewise, the level of serum vitamin A in HIV seropositive non-pregnant women (0.74+/-0.39) was significantly lower than that in HIV negative non-pregnant women (1.18+/-0.59 umol/L, P<0.004). VAD (serum retinol <0.7 umol/L) was observed in 18.4% and 17.7% of HIV infected and uninfected pregnant women, respectively.

Forty six percent of non-pregnant women with HIV infection had VAD while only 28% controls were deficient for vitamin A (P=0.002).

Conclusion: The present study shows that VAD is a major public health problem among pregnant women in the tropical settings of Northwest Ethiopia. Considering the possible implications of VAD during pregnancy, we recommend multivitamin (which has a lower level of vitamin A) supplementation in the care and management of pregnant women with or without HIV infection.Key words: Vitamin A deficiencies, pregnancy, HIV infection, Ethiopia



Published on: 2011-07-15

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