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J Infect Dis. 1999 Jul;180(1):93-8.

Human immunodeficiency virus load in breast milk, mastitis, and mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 load in breast milk and mastitis were examined as risk factors for vertical transmission of HIV-1. Six weeks after delivery, HIV-1 load and sodium (an indicator of mastitis) were measured in breast milk from 334 HIV-1-infected women in Malawi. Median breast milk HIV-1 load was 700 copies/mL among women with HIV-1-infected infants versus undetectable (<200 copies/mL) among those with uninfected infants, respectively (P<. 0001). Elevated breast milk sodium levels consistent with mastitis occurred in 16.4% of HIV-1-infected women and were associated with increased vertical transmission of HIV-1 (P<.0001). Median breast milk HIV-1 load was 920 copies/mL among women with versus undetectable among those without elevated breast milk sodium levels, respectively (P<.0001). Mastitis and breast milk HIV-1 load may increase the risk of vertical transmission of HIV-1 through breast-feeding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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