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BREASTFEEDING WHEN HIV POSITIVE
Apr 18, 2012

AS FAR AS I KNOW THAT IF YOU ARE POSITIVE YOUR BREASTMILK HAS THE VIRUS BUT I CAN'T UNDERSTAND HOW IT AFFECTS THE BABY COS THE BRESTMILK GOES TO THE STOMACH AND GETS DIGESTED, AND WHY BREASTMILK MUST NOT BE MIXED WITH FOMULAR? CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN THAT COS I AM HIV POSITIVE MOTHER TO A 3 MONTHS OLD BABY AND I'M BREASTFEEDING AND BEEN ON NEVARAPINE FOR 4 YEARS,MY CD4 COUNT AFTER DILIVERY WAS 1004 AND VIRAL LOAD WAS UNDECTATABLE

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi,

HIV can be transmitted through breast milk, so formula feeding is advised whenever possible. This is true even for women on highly active antiretroviral therapy; therapy may reduce but not completely eliminate the risk of transmitting the virus to the infant.

I copied the below information from John L. Sullivan, M.D. forum:

Breast milk transmission can occur at anytime. Although data from some studies suggest that breast milk transmission commonly occurs within the first months of life. A recent study of 4,085 breastfed infants of HIV positive women 12 demonstrated a constant risk of transmission (8.9 transmissions per 100 child years of breastfeeding) between 1 and 18 months of age. Richardson and colleagues, have estimated the probability of breast milk transmission at .00064 per liter ingested and .00028 per day of breastfeeding; the latter is roughly equivalent to the probability of transmission of HIV-1 per unprotected sex act between adults. Multiple studies have shown that advanced maternal disease with low CD4+ T cell counts or high plasma HIV-1 RNA copy numbers is associated with the highest risk of breast milk transmission.

Hope this helps, be well and stay safe



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