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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2007 Jul 1;45(3):318-23.

Flash-heat inactivation of HIV-1 in human milk: a potential method to reduce postnatal transmission in developing countries.

Author information

1
Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360, USA. ballardk@berkeley.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Up to 40% of all mother-to-child transmission of HIV occurs by means of breast-feeding; yet, in developing countries, infant formula may not be a safe option. The World Health Organization recommends heat-treated breast milk as an infant-feeding alternative. We investigated the ability of a simple method, flash-heat, to inactivate HIV in breast milk from HIV-positive mothers.

METHODS:

Ninety-eight breast milk samples, collected from 84 HIV-positive mothers in a periurban settlement in South Africa, were aliquoted to unheated control and flash-heating. Reverse transcriptase (RT) assays (lower detection limit of 400 HIV copies/mL) were performed to differentiate active versus inactivated cell-free HIV in unheated and flash-heated samples.

RESULTS:

We found detectable HIV in breast milk samples from 31% (26 of 84) of mothers. After adjusting for covariates, multivariate logistic regression showed a statistically significant negative association between detectable virus in breast milk and maternal CD4+ T-lymphocyte count (P=0.045) and volume of breast milk expressed (P=0.01) and a positive association with use of multivitamins (P=0.03). All flash-heated samples showed undetectable levels of cell-free HIV-1 as detected by the RT assay (P<0.00001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Flash-heat can inactivate HIV in naturally infected breast milk from HIV-positive women. Field studies are urgently needed to determine the feasibility of in-home flash-heating breast milk to improve infant health while reducing postnatal transmission of HIV in developing countries.

PMID:
17514015
DOI:
10.1097/QAI.0b013e318074eeca
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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