Micronutrients

Micronutrient deficiencies are seen more frequently in HIV-infected pregnant women than in HIV-uninfected pregnant women [4]. Deficiencies may be due to physiologic losses, malabsorption, inadequate intake, and lack of knowledge regarding appropriate prenatal nutrition [9]. Poor maternal micronutrient status has consequences for both the mother and the developing infant. Micronutrient deficiencies may result in increased risk for opportunistic infections, more rapid disease progression [31-33], and an increased risk of vertical transmission of the virus as a result of compromised immune status of the mother [17]. Common micronutrient deficiencies that are seen in people with HIV include vitamin A, B-complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc, all of which play an important role in immune function and defense against infection [34-37 and Chap. 23, "Micronutrient Status and Pregnancy Outcomes in HIV-Infected Women"]. Iron and folate supplementation is especially important to promote positive pregnancy outcomes, while vitamin A supplementation has been shown to increase the risk of vertical HIV transmission. Zinc deficiency results in reduction of T-cell development and function, affecting immune response [38]. It has also been linked to low-birth-weight outcomes in infected pregnant women.

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