Breastfeeding If Mom Is HIV Positive

baby bottleIf you are going to deliver a baby and you know you are HIV positive, the question of whether or not to breast feed is an important one. If you have no access to safe water and thus safe preparation of formula,  then you should breast feed.  In the USA where safe water and access to formula is a given, then, in the situation where birth mom is HIV positive, it is recommended that you NOT breast feed.  We have over 8000 births a year in the US to HIV positive moms.  There is about a 14% chance you will give your baby HIV by breast feeding if you have had HIV all along and that chance goes up to 25-30% if you get HIV late in pregnancy or while breast feeding.  Taking anti-retrovirus medications (treatment for HIV) can reduce the chance of your baby getting HIV from your breast milk down to about 1-5%,  but this risk still seems too great if you can avoid all risk by formula feeding when safe and abundant formula is available. 

 

This article documents the AAP position and reasoning for this thinking:  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/2/391.full

Dr. Paul

 

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