Vitamin A levels and human immunodeficiency virus load in injection drug users

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12 Scopus citations


Although low plasma vitamin A levels are associated with increased mortality and higher vertical transmission during human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, it is unknown whether plasma low vitamin A levels are a marker for circulating HIV load. We conducted a cross-sectional study within a prospective cohort study of injection drug users in order to evaluate the relationship between plasma vitamin A levels and HIV viral load. Plasma vitamin A level was measured by high-performance liquid chromatography. Infectious viral load was measured by quantitative microculture of serial fivefold dilutions of 106 peripheral blood mononuclear cells. A total of 284 HIV-infected adults (79 women, 205 men) were studied. Plasma vitamin A levels consistent with deficiency were found in 28.9% of adults. A total of 38.0% of women and 25.3% of men had vitamin A deficiency (P < 0.04). The median infectious viral load for the entire study population was 8 infectious units per million cells. No significant relationship between plasma vitamin A levels and infectious viral load was observed in these injection drug users. This study suggests that there is no correlation between HIV viral load and plasma vitamin A levels in injection drug users, and these variables may represent independent risk factors during HIV infection. HIV-infected adult women appear to be at higher risk of developing vitamin A deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-95
Number of pages3
JournalClinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Microbiology (medical)


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