Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

HIV and Breastfeeding

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

HIV and Breastfeeding

Article excerpt

Mothers living with HIV should breastfeed their babies for at least 12 months and can continue for up to 24 months or longer (as for the general population) while being fully supported for antiretroviral treatment including adherence support, according to recently released WHO guidance. This recommendation is for countries where national authorities already promote and support breastfeeding among mothers living with HIV.

The guidance, entitled Updates on HIV and infant feeding, is an update of recommendations issued in 2010.

It calls on national and local health authorities to actively provide services in health facilities and coordinate activities in workplaces, communities and homes that protect, promote and support breastfeeding among women with HIV.

"Mothers living with HIV and healthcare workers can be reassured that antiretroviral treatment is effective at reducing the risk of postnatal HIV transmission in the context of mixed feeding and that mixed feeding in itself is not a reason to stop breastfeeding," the guidance says.

When mothers with HIV infection do not plan to breastfeed for 12 months because they want to return to work or school, then a shorter duration of planned breastfeeding while they are on antiretroviral treatment is still better than no breastfeeding at all, according to the guidance. …

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