Academic journal article International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health

Breast-Feeding Changes Levels of HIV in Milk

Academic journal article International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health

Breast-Feeding Changes Levels of HIV in Milk

Article excerpt

The amount of HIV in a mother's breast milk varies with the frequency with which she breast-feeds, according to a study of 958 pregnant HIV-positive women in Lusaka, Zambia, who were recruited between 2001 and 2004 and were not receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). (1) Half the women were encouraged to breast-feed their newborn exclusively for six months and then to breastfeed nonexclusively for as long as they liked; in this group, the median concentrations of HIV-1 RNA and DNA in milk pumped when their baby was aged 4.5 months was less than 50 copies/ml and less than one copy/ml, respectively. Among the remaining women, who were encouraged to breast-feed their newborn exclusively for four months and then to wean the infant abruptly, the concentrations of viral genetic material in milk pumped at 4.5 months--two weeks after weaning--was significantly higher (RNA, 2,708 copies/ml; DNA, 14 copies/ml). Differences between the groups remained after adjustments were made for possible confounders (e. …

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