5147.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - Board 8

Abstract #8073

HIV transmission through breastfeeding

Ellen Israel, CNM, MPH and Douglas Huber, MD, MSc. Medical Services Department, Pathfinder International, 9 Galen Street, Suite 217, Watertown, MA 02472, 617-924-7200, rmorgan@pathfind.org

Approximately 1.2 to 1.8 million children have become HIV-infected through breastfeeding, accounting for roughly one-third to one-half of the 3.6 million children infected through mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). HIV-positive women need to know about HIV transmission through breastmilk and options to protect their children. In addition, since 90 percent of women in developing countries do not know their HIV status, accessible voluntary counseling and testing is vital if women who feel they may be HIV-positive are to make informed decisions about breastfeeding.

This poster session will cover special risk factors for HIV transmission during breastfeeding, including when the mother contracts HIV during pregnancy or the postnatal period, when the mother has AIDS, the number of months the child is breastfed, nutritional deficiencies in the mother, and mastitis. The session also will review the World Health Organizationís guidelines for mothers who are HIV positive, as well as additional strategies for decreasing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. However, while alternatives like commercially prepared formula and heat-treating expressed milk are effective at reducing MTCT, some of these strategies are not feasible in the developing world.

In addition, the session will address the human rights issues surrounding HIV and pregnancy, as well as other issues and dilemmas in considering alternative feeding methods, such as meeting the childís nutritional requirements, the risk in certain cultures of discrimination against women who do not breastfeed, and the risk of bacterial infection to babies who are not breastfed.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to: 1. Identify at least four options for decreasing the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission through breastfeeding. 2. Describe eight recommendations for preventing vertical transmission of HIV

Keywords: Breast Feeding, HIV Interventions

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA