To assess risk factors for anemia in late pregnancy, we studied healthy pregnant women with a singleton uncomplicated pregnancy of > or = 32 weeks attending the prenatal clinic in the Provincial Hospital in Kisumu, Kenya. Between June 1996 and December 1998, 4,608 pregnant women had a blood sample collected for hemoglobin (Hb) measurement, malaria smear, and testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The mean +/- standard deviation of Hb was 9.58 +/- 1.8 g/dL; 21% had malaria in their blood; and 25% of the women were HIV seropositive. Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia was more common among HIV-seropositive women in all gravidities compared with HIV-seronegative women (risk ratio, 1.71; 95% confidence interval, 1.53-1.92). In a multivariate analysis, for primi- and secundigravidae women, the factors malaria, belonging to the Luo tribe, and HIV seropositivity were significantly associated with any anemia (Hb < 11 g/dL), and HIV seropositivity and documented fever were associated with severe anemia (Hb < 7 g/dL). In women of higher gravidities, HIV seropositivity was the only statistically significant factor associated with any anemia or with severe anemia. Asymptomatic HIV seropositivity is an important risk factor to be considered in the differential diagnosis of maternal anemia, independent of P. falciparum parasitemia.