The association between medical, social, and nutritional factors and iron deficiency anemia was examined in adult women who had tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and were living in the Greater Vancouver Area.
This was a cross-sectional observational study of 102 HIV-positive women, aged 19 or older, who were patients of one of three chosen community health clinics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Information on usual dietary intake and other nutrition-related factors was collected with a short diet survey, while medical information and laboratory data were obtained from each participant's medical chart.
Of the predictors studied, a CD4 cell count below 200 cells/µL, a regular menstrual pattern, and African ethnicity were associated with an increased risk of iron deficiency anemia. Dietary intake was not independently associated with iron status.
Iron deficiency anemia in HIV-positive women has multifactorial and complicated causation, but is strongly associated with poorer immune status and greater menstrual losses. Health disparities in Aboriginal and African women may lead to a higher risk for iron deficiency anemia. Routine screening and ongoing nutrition education are necessary for the prevention and management of iron deficiency anemia. Further research into factors associated with iron deficiency anemia is essential to improve prevention and management efforts.