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Breast sucking confusion caused by Dr Jackson on 09th August
Oct 19, 2003

Dear Doctor, i have read many expert views (also on the safe sex forum of The Body) that breast sucking or nipple sucking on a non lactating woman carries no risk yet now Dr jackson states that there is a potential risk. Well according to my knowledge of the English language no risk is not the same as potential risk. Perhaps you could explain why there is a contradiction in the statements. The same question has been sent to Jackson himself and also to the Safe Sex forum but no-one has responded.


Posted: Aug 9, 2003

HIv and breast secretions

I coordinate HIV/AIDS training for a community center in Namibia and recently got a question I have had trouble finding an answer to. Is there any other secretion that can come from a woman's breast, and if so, can that secretion also carry HIV? One of our participants was adamant about secretions coming from a partner's breast who was not pregnant or lactating.

Occasional discharge or secretion can come from the breast of a non-pregnant or non-lactating woman. If the woman is HIV infected, such secretions should be considered potentially infectious for HIV.


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Response from Dr. Aberg

My guess is that the answers differed based upon the context of how it was asked. There could be a potential risk of transmitting HIV through breast secretions for an infant. It is low but nevertheless, the risk is potentially there and it is always safer to avoid any practices where there may be a risk of transmitting HIV. A baby suckling a breast can also induce some women to start lactacting especially if a women recently gave birth. Therefore, we do not recommend women who recently delivered to ever let the baby "nurse" (even after her breast swelling with milk went away).

The other scenario is consenting sex among adults. Usually the stimulation given by adults is not the same suckling as an infant and the risk of secretions is much less. Theorectically, as Dr. Jackson mentioned, it could potentially happen so we do not recommend that adults engage in forceful prolonged suckling of a woman's nipple particularly if she has recently given birth.

Most physicians are usually hesistant to say absolutely no risk as there are very few things in our lives that are "absolutely never" or for that matter, relatively few "always"

Hope this clarifies what was said before.

An awkward feeling...

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