Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV is the primary way that children become infected with HIV. More than 1000 children worldwide are infected in this way every day. Researchers theorized that giving vitamin A supplements to HIV-infected pregnant or breastfeeding women might make it less likely that their children would be infected with HIV. The primary objective of this review of randomised studies is to estimate the effect of vitaminA supplementation during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding on the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV infection. The secondary objectives are to estimate the effect of vitamin A supplementation on infant and maternal mortality and morbidity, and to describe any side effects for the mother and the new baby.
The authors found that currently available evidence does not support the use of vitamin A supplementation of HIV-infected pregnant or breastfeeding women to reduce MTCT of HIV, although there is an indication that vitamin A supplementation during pregnancy improves birth weight.