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I do not want to stop breastfeeding her?

By Vision Reporter

Added 25th January 2009 03:00 AM

CONTRARY to what you have been told, HIV is found in all body fluids of people infected with HIV such as blood, sexual fluids and breast milk.

CONTRARY to what you have been told, HIV is found in all body fluids of people infected with HIV such as blood, sexual fluids and breast milk.

Face HIV with Dr. Watiti

Dear Doctor,
I am HIV-positive, but not yet on ARVs. I am exclusively breastfeeding my baby who is now six months as advised by my doctor. She looks healthy though I have not yet tested her for HIV. Can’t I breastfeed the baby for longer since I hear there is no HIV in the milk? She has not yet grown teeth and cannot bite.
Michelle

Dear Michelle,
CONTRARY to what you have been told, HIV is found in all body fluids of people infected with HIV such as blood, sexual fluids and breast milk.

So your child can be infected with HIV from your breast milk even when it is not contaminated with blood. The advise given to HIV-positive mothers is to breastfeed exclusively for three to six months, then stop and put the child on alternative baby food such as cow’s milk and cereal.

The earlier you stop breast-feeding, the safer for your baby. Mixed feeding is discouraged because it damages the mucus lining or membrane of the baby’s digestive system, thereby making it easy for HIV in the milk to enter the blood stream.

The three to six months of exclusive breastfeeding advised are not because babies do not have teeth during this period, but because during this period their nutritional needs can be met by breast milk only as has been the case with your baby.

Now she needs more food to avoid malnutrition and breastfeeding must stop to avoid continual exposure to HIV.

I do not want to stop breastfeeding her?

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