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Infant-feeding practices of mothers of known HIV status in Lusaka, Zambia

Omari, Aika, Luo, C., Kankasa, C., Bhat, G. J. and Bunn, J. (2003) 'Infant-feeding practices of mothers of known HIV status in Lusaka, Zambia'. Health Policy and Planning, Vol 18, Issue 2, pp. 156-162.

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Background: Between 25 and 44% of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) occurs through breastfeeding. As a result, feeding guidelines for infants of HIV-infected mothers are being formulated in many resource-poor countries. The impact of introducing these guidelines on mothers' actual feeding practices has not previously been examined. Infant-feeding practices of mothers of known HIV status who should have received advice during pre- and post-test HIV counselling were assessed and compared with those of uninfected mothers. Methods: Mothers of infants aged 2-12 months, 55 HIV-infected and 85 HIV-uninfected, were recruited from the HIV Family Support Unit in Lusaka, Zambia. HIV status was known to 121 of these mothers, who had all received pre- and post-test HIV counselling. Feeding practices were determined by verbal questionnaire. Results: All mothers breastfed but only 35% of infants below 4 months were exclusively breastfed (received breast milk only). HIV-infected mothers introduced fluids and weaned their infants significantly earlier than HIV-uninfected mothers (p = 0.03 and p = 0.002, respectively). Infants of HIV-infected mothers had significantly lower weight for age Z (WAZ) scores indicating poorer nutritional or health status (p = 0.004). Commercial formula milk and cow's milk were used by 36 mothers as breast milk substitutes, and were introduced at a median age of 2.5 months. Thirteen mothers gave cow's milk, and no mother added water to cow's milk (as recommended), with two adding sugar and four adding salt. Conclusion: Infant-feeding practices of HIV-infected mothers differed significantly from HIV-uninfected mothers, and this may contribute to their poorer growth. Paradoxically these mothers feeding practice could be putting these infants at greater risk of both non-HIV-related morbidity and HIV transmission, as early introduction of foods other than breast milk may increase MTCT.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV Infections > WC 503 Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV infections
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV Infections > WC 503.3 Etiology. Transmission
WQ Obstetrics > WQ 500 Postnatal care
WS Pediatrics > Child Care. Nutrition. Physical Examination > WS 125 Breast feeding
WS Pediatrics > By Age Groups > WS 420 Newborn infants. Neonatology
Faculty: Department: Groups (2002 - 2012) > Child & Reproductive Health Group
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Martin Chapman
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2013 12:03
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:04


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