Infant-feeding Practices among HIV-infected Mothers in an HIV-treatment Programme


International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research


The transmission of HIV via breastmilk has led to various recommendations for HIV-infected mothers. In this study, the feeding practices of HIV-infected mothers in the first six months of their infants’ lives were evaluated. In total, 103 consecutive mothers of children, aged 6-24 months, were evaluated for their feeding practices in the first six months of their infants’ lives. The mothers were recruited in two cohorts based on their entry (PMTCT cohort) or non-entry (non-PMTCT cohort) to an HIV MTCT-prevention programme. Information obtained included maternal age, socioeconomic class, and the educational level attained. All the babies in the non-PMTCT cohort were breastfed compared to none in the PMTCT cohort. Infant formula was inadequately prepared for 77.42% of babies in the non-PMTCT cohort compared to 18.64% in the PMTCT cohort. The mixed-feeding rate was high (70.45 %) in the non-PMTCT cohort. Over 70% of babies in both the cohorts were bottle-fed. Voluntary counselling and testing services in the healthcare system should be strengthened. All mothers should receive infant-feeding counselling, with exclusive breastfeeding being encouraged in those with unknown HIV status.

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