HIV-1 infection in women is associated with severe nutritional deficiencies

Marianna K. Baum, Gail Shor-Posner, Guoyan Zhang, Hong Lai, Jose A. Quesada, Adriana Campa, Maria Jose-Burbano, Mary Ann Fletcher, Howerde Sauberlich, J. Bryan Page

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nutritional deficiencies may contribute to immune dysregulation, and have been shown to be sensitive markers of HIV-1 disease progression. Only limited information exists, however, regarding the nutritional profile of HIV-1-seropositive drug abusers. Immune and nutritional measurements were obtained in a subsample of 125 subjects from a larger cohort of drug users being followed for HIV-1 infection and cofactors of disease progression. Nutritional deficiencies, particularly vitamins A, E, and zinc, were widespread with up to 86% of the drug users exhibiting at least one nutritional alteration. Although immune parameters (CD4 count, CD8 count, β2-microglobulin) were similar in the HIV-1-infected men and women, women had significantly poorer overall nutritional status, as measured by plasma proteins, which are considered to be sensitive markers of malnutrition. A comparison of individuals with advanced disease (CD4 count <200/mm3) revealed significantly lower levels of plasma prealbumin (p < .01), selenium, (p < .05), and greater deficiency of vitamins A (p < .01) and E (p < .05) in women than in men. The greater severity of nutritional deficiencies noted in HIV-1-infected women may be an important determinant of disease progression and survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-278
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug users
  • HIV-1-positive men
  • HIV-1-positive women
  • Nutritional status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Virology


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