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Can I Comfortably Breastfeed My Baby without Transmitting HIV
Apr 29, 2015

i tested positive to HIV two years ago and was not placed on ARV until i was pregnant (PMTCT). my daughter is negative and i did not breastfeed her. now am pregnant again i would want to breastfeed this baby. what are my chances of not transmitting the virus to my baby.

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting.

Comfortable is in the eye (treatment and land) of the beholder. The most important thing you can do to prevent HIV transmission to your baby is to be on treatment and adherent. An undetectable viral load means that it's very, very unlikely that you'll transmit HIV, either during birth or by breastfeeding.

If you live in the US (as I do), breastfeeding is not recommended by national guidelines.

Outside of the US, and particularly in low income countries in Africa, breastfeeding by HIV+ moms is occasionally recommended- this is because the risk of HIV is outweighed by the risk of other infantile illnesses (such as diarrheal disease) that are prevented by antibodies in the mother's milk. Here's a link to a useful overview on HIV and breastfeeding.

Hope that's helpful, BY

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