HIV Transmission Through Breastfeeding Can be Reduced
Women with HIV can reduce the risk of HIV transmission through breastfeeding by using feeding alternatives to limit the breastfeeding period to the "shortest duration of time possible," according to a study by researchers at the University of Manitoba. Reuters Health/JAMA reports that Dr. Joanne Embree and colleagues followed HIV-1 seropositive women who gave birth in Nairobi, Kenya, starting in 1986. Unless women could provide "safe alternative nutrition," the women were not discouraged from breastfeeding, in accordance with World Health Organization and Kenyan government policies. The composition of the study included "51 perinatally infected infants, 42 postnatally infected infants, and 317 uninfected children." In infants that had been breastfed for longer than 15 months, the odds ratio for postnatal HIV-1 transmission was 2.4, and in infants breastfed by mothers with CD4 cell counts lower than 400/mL, the odds of transmission was 4.4. Dr. Embree suggested that wThis is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.