Listed in Issue 156


TOHILL and COLLEAGUES, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease and Public Health Prevention, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity and Division of Reproductive Health, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA. investigated nutritional biomarkers associated with several gynaecological conditions among US women with or at risk of HIV infection.


Women infected with HIV face a combination of health threats that include compromised nutrition and adverse gynaecological conditions. This relation among HIV, nutrition, and gynaecological conditions is complex and has rarely been investigated.


Data on 369 HIV-infected and 184 HIV-uninfected women with both nutritional and gynaecological outcomes were analyzed from a cross-sectional nutritional sub-study of the HIV Epidemiology Research Study (HERS). The authors examined micronutrient distributions comparing HIV-infected with HIV-uninfected participants and both subgroups with the US population. They then modelled the relation of 16 micronutrient serum concentrations to various gynaecological conditions, producing partially adjusted odds ratios, adjusted for study site, risk cohort, and HIV status.


HIV-infected women's median antioxidant concentrations were lower than the medians of the US population. HERS women had lower median concentrations for vitamin A, selenium, and zinc irrespective of HIV status. Trichomoniasis prevalence was inversely related to serum alpha-carotene. Lower concentrations of vitamins A, C, and E and beta-carotene were associated with an increased risk of bacterial vaginosis. Higher concentrations of serum zinc were associated with lower risk of human papillomavirus. Candida colonization was higher among women with higher concentrations of total-iron-binding capacity.


The authors identified several significant associations of micronutrient concentrations with the prevalence of gynaecological conditions. These findings warrant further investigation into possible causal relations.


Tohill BC,  Heilig CM,.  Klein RS,  Rompalo A,  Cu-Uvin S,  Piwoz EG,  Jamieson DJ and  Duerr A. Nutritional biomarkers associated with gynecological conditions among US women with or at risk of HIV infection. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 85(5): 1327-34. May 2007.

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