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doctors opinions about HIV and breastfeeding
Oct 26, 2001

Are most doctors for or against an HIV positive mother breastfeeding her baby?

Response from Dr. Jackson

In the United States doctors advise HIV infected women not to breastfeed their baby because clean water and formula is readily affordable and available. In developing countries this is not the case where infant death rates are high if a mother does not breastfeed due to lack of clean drinking water and poor nutrition. In addition there is a lot of stigma for a woman if she does not breastfeed due to the culture. Although the risk of infection to the baby from breastfeeding is 3-8% over a year period, the risk of death from not breastdfeeding is also high due to poor nutrition and diarrheal disease. Therefore, women in developing countries receive conflicting opinions on this issue from doctors. In general women in developing countries are told to breastfeed and then to wean when the infants when they are a few months older and have better immune systems to fight infection.

BJ


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