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March 30, 2007

Breast feeding and HIV transmission

Researchers have found that infants born to HIV postive mothers in Africa are less likely to contract HIV if they are fed nothing but breastmilk in the first 6 months of lilfe, compared to a mixture of breastmilk and other foods.

Infants who received formula milk or animal milk in addition to breast milk were nearly twice as likely to be infected as infants who received breast milk only.

And those given solids in addition to breast milk were almost 11 times more likely to acquire infection.

It is thought that this higher risk is due to the larger, more complex proteins found in solid foods which may lead to greater damage to the lining of the stomach, allowing the virus to pass through the gut wall. [BBC]

Breastfeeding carries a small but significant risk of mother-to-child transmission and women who can afford to feed their infants nothing but formula are advised to do so. However, many African women with HIV can't afford an all-formula diet.

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Comments

when i think about the year 2001 policy change during the first 100 days in regard to abstinence vs. condoms and AIDS, this is part of the unfortunate & completely preventable side effect.

even in regard to the policy changes made, there has never been enough money offered to help these families break the cycle of poverty & AIDS transmission. the current administration policy towards AIDS & helping victims is obviously premeditated murder & genocide.

this should cause outrage worldwide and an immediate rush of supplies and assistance. but one look at the policy decisions by our administration & bureaucratic leaders the past several years seems to indicate more interest in preventing 'death taxes' than stopping AIDS from overwhelming an entire continent and nearly all of its inhabitants.

There's nothing like putting our values where our mouth is.

the list of evidence detailing how the 'faith based compassionate conservative' culture is rotting everything on earth to the core gets longer & more chilling each and every day.

The BBC World Service report on this study noted the problem of advertising in Africa that makes exaggerated claims about bottle-feeding, associating it with bigger, smarter babies. (And there's the long-running controversy over Nestle's pushing formula in the developing world.) It creates the worst possible conditions for transmission, as mothers take advantage of the freebies, then switch to breastfeeding.

I wonder how well controlled this study was.

HIV-positive women who are less healthy and have higher levels of HIV may be both (a) less likely to be able to exclusively breastfeed their children for six months, and (b) more likely to transmit HIV to their children.

Did the study attempt to control for the inability to breastfeed due to health issues for the mother?

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