What We're Reading: The New York Times Reports on HIV Breastfeeding Study
February 1, 2011
Photo: EGPAF/Jon Hrusa
For mothers living in low- and middle-income countries, breastfeeding is a vitally important source of nutrition for their babies. But for those mothers living with HIV, it is also a potential source of transmission of the virus that causes AIDS.
In recent years, several studies have focused on how to allow HIV-positive mothers to breastfeed more safely and increase their babies’ chances of HIV-free survival.
Today The New York Times reported on one of those clinical trials
– the Kesho Bora study – which was published in the British medical journal The Lancet earlier this month
. The study involved giving a triple regimen of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to HIV-positive women during pregnancy and breastfeeding, even if the mothers did not yet require treatment for their own health.
The results were promising, showing a much greater likelihood of preventing HIV transmission to their children, and securing good health outcomes for both mother and baby.
The study’s initial findings were released before publication, and it was one of the factors that led the World Health Organization (WHO) to revise its guidelines on treatment for pregnant HIV-positive women and infant feeding in the context of HIV.
The WHO now recommends starting women on antiretrovirals earlier in pregnancy – as well as extending infant and maternal ARVs during the breastfeeding period – as the most effective way to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Read more about the Foundation’s own research efforts
to prevent new HIV infections in children around the world.
Robert Yule is the Foundation’s Senior Media Relations Manager in Washington, D.C.