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Am J Public Health. 1995 Aug;85(8 Pt 1):1076-81.

The effects of vitamin A supplementation on the morbidity of children born to HIV-infected women.

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Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Natal, Durban, South Africa.



The effects of vitamin A supplementation on morbidity of children born to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected women were evaluated in a population where vitamin A deficiency is not endemic.


A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of vitamin A supplementation was carried out in 118 offspring of HIV-infected women in Durban, South Africa. Those assigned to receive a supplement were given 50,000 IU of vitamin A at 1 and 3 months of age; 100,000 IU at 6 and 9 months; and 200,000 IU at 12 and 15 months. Morbidity in the past month was then recalled at each follow-up visit. Analysis was based on 806 child-months.


Among all children, the supplemented group had lower overall morbidity than the placebo group (OR = 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.48, 0.99). Among the 85 children of known HIV status (28 infected, 57 uninfected), morbidity associated with diarrhea was significantly reduced in the supplemented infected children (OR = 0.51; 95% CI = 0.27, 0.99), whereas no effect of supplementation on diarrheal morbidity was noted among the uninfected children.


In a population not generally vitamin A deficient, vitamin A supplementation for children of HIV-infected women appeared to be beneficial, reducing morbidity. The benefit was observed particularly for diarrhea among HIV-infected children.

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