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JAMA. 1999 Aug 25;282(8):744-9.

HIV transmission through breastfeeding: a study in Malawi.

Author information

  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA. pm122m@nih.gov

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Understanding the risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission through breastfeeding is essential for advising HIV-infected mothers and formulating public health policy recommendations.

OBJECTIVE:

To measure the frequency, timing, and risk factors of HIV transmission through breast milk.

DESIGN:

Prospective cohort study conducted between 1994 and 1997, with follow-up of infants through 24 months of age.

SETTING:

Postnatal clinic of tertiary care hospital, Blantyre, Malawi.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 672 infants (HIV-negative at birth) born to HIV-infected women who had not received antiretroviral drugs during or after pregnancy.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Incidence of HIV in breastfed infants by age and maternal and infant risk factors for HIV transmission, using proportional hazard models to derive risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

RESULTS:

Forty-seven children became HIV-infected while breastfeeding but none after breastfeeding had stopped. The cumulative infection rate while breastfeeding, from month 1 to the end of months 5, 11,17, and 23, was 3.5%, 7.0%, 8.9%, and 10.3%, respectively. Incidence per month was 0.7% during age 1 to 5 months, 0.6% during age 6 to 11 months, and 0.3% during age 12 to 17 months (P = .01 for trend). The only factors significantly associated with low risk of postnatal HIV transmission in a multivariate model were high maternal parity (RR, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.09-0.56) and older maternal age (RR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.23-0.84).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our data suggest that the risk of HIV infection is highest in the early months of breastfeeding, which should be considered in formulating breastfeeding policy recommendations.

Comment in

PMID:
10463709
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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