January 9, 2004
Women must receive support from counselors and the community to effectively practice safer breastfeeding because women can end up with breast diseases like mastitis and infants can become frustrated, leading to malnourishment, according to Katherin Semrau, project coordinator for the Zambia Exclusive Breastfeeding Study. In addition, women must be taught proper breastfeeding techniques to reduce the risk of cracked nipples and other problems that may increase the chances of HIV transmission, the Globe and Mail reports. Hoosen Coovadia, a professor of HIV/AIDS at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, found that women who adhere to the recommendations and receive proper support may have as low as a 6% chance of passing HIV on to their infants. "You can't just say, 'Don't breastfeed.' That's a death sentence for many babies. Fine, they won't get HIV, but they will die of diarrhea," Jean Humphrey, head of Zvitambo, a research project on HIV and breastfeeding in Zimbabwe, said, adding, "Safer breastfeeding is now the only real choice" (Nolen, Toronto Globe and Mail, 1/6).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2003 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.