The relation between vitamin A (retinol) deficiency and perinatal transmission of HIV-1, if it exists, might be mediated through an increased viral load in the mother's genital tract. To ascertain whether or not such an association is present, we measured the serum concentration of retinol with high performance liquid chromatography, and correlated the results with concurrent quantified HIV-1 RNA concentrations in cervicovaginal lavage fluid in 301 women infected with the virus. We noted no association between retinol status and genital HIV-1 load. Our findings lend support to those of studies that reported no association between retinol deficiency and perinatal HIV-1 transmission.
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