Breastfeeding may be natural, but it is not always simple. Then when they become discouraged, they are told to stop breastfeeding altogether and to give artificial substitutes. If the mother is HIV positive, more uncertainty is added.
Recommendations from global health authorities endorse exclusive breastfeeding for all babies for the first six months of life and continued partial breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond. Most HIV-exposed babies are born in places where breastfeeding is the cultural norm and where formula-feeding is particularly unwelcome, unnatural and stigmatising. Current World Health Organization guidance on HIV and infant feeding is clear that for most mothers in most countries, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, followed by continued partial breastfeeding for at least the first year of life will enhance HIV-free child survival.
Infant feeding by HIV-infected mothers has been a major global public health dilemma and a highly controversial matter. The controversy is reflected in the different sets of WHO infant feeding guidelines that have been issued over the last two decades. This thematic series, 'Infant feeding and HIV: lessons learnt and ways ahead' highlights the multiple challenges that HIV-infected women, infant feeding counsellors and health systems have encountered trying to translate and implement the shifting infant feeding recommendations in different local contexts in sub-Saharan Africa.
HIV passes via breastfeeding to about 14 percent of infants born to HIV-infected women, at least if the breastfeeding is not exclusive. Preliminary research suggests that HIV may transmit through breast-milk at much lower levels, perhaps hardly at all, during exclusive breastfeeding that is, when babies receiving nothing but breast milk, not even water. HIV in infants not given antiviral drugs nearly always results in death. But babies are also highly likely to die from diseases resulting from artificial feeding where supplies, sanitation and hygiene, and medical care are not always available.
Consequently, the rate of exclusive breast-feeding is low, particularly in West Africa. Nevertheless prolonged breastfeeding is common, and the median duration of breastfeeding ranges between 16 and 28 months. Urbanization and mothers' education are the major factors that tend to shorten breastfeeding.
African women infected with the AIDS virus cut the risk of transmitting it to their babies when they fed them exclusively breast milk and not also formula, animal milk or solid food, a study found on Thursday. Researchers in South Africa, writing in the Lancet medical journal, tracked 1, HIV-infected women and found a 4 percent risk of postnatal transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus to babies fed only breast milk for six months after birth. The infants who were breast-fed but also given baby formula or animal milk were almost twice as likely to get the virus from the mother as those consuming breast milk alone, the study found.
It could affect anybody, and babies are not spared from this risk. When a child is brought into the world, we wish he best for the child. However, sometimes, reality hits hard.
Mother-to-child transmission can occur during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. The best way to prevent transmission of HIV to an infant through breast milk is to not breastfeed. In the United States, where mothers have access to clean water and affordable replacement feeding infant formulaCDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics External recommend that HIV-infected mothers completely avoid breastfeeding their infants, regardless of ART and maternal viral load. Healthcare providers should be aware that some mothers with HIV may experience social or cultural pressure to breastfeed.
Should mothers with HIV be advised not to breastfeed? If families cannot buy sufficient supplies of breastmilk substitutes, they may:. In the 50 poorest developing countries, infant mortality averages over deaths per thousand live births.
On a spring day in rural KwaZulu-Natal province, nature vents its power upon the people of the Valley of a Thousand Hills in the form of a thunder storm savage in its fury. But Cynthia Mkhize has another explanation for the white lightning fizzling and cracking diabolically across the onyx sky above her. Mkhize herself found out she had the virus shortly before she gave birth to her last-born, four-year-old Bongamusa.