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HIV-infected mothers must weigh the risk of possible HIV infection when deciding whether or not to breastfeed their children.
Breastfeeding is the best way to feed children under one year of age, but an HIV-infected woman can transmit the virus to her baby during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.
To breastfeed or not to breastfeed with HIV?
Although HIV can be transmitted from mother to child through breast milk, only1 in 10 HIV-infected nursing mothers pass the virus to their babies.
It must also be taken into account that newborns who do not drink breast milk are six times more likely to die from diarrhea or respiratory infections, and that breast milk provides a complete diet and strengthens the immune system of infants.
Is it safe to breastfeed a baby if you have HIV?
Opinions on this are conflicting:
- TheUS Centers for Disease Control. recommenddo not breastfeed if the mother is a carrier of the HIV.
- TheWorld Health Organization encourages, to HIV-infected mothers from poor regions, to breastfeed, as long as mother and baby are taking antiretroviral drugs to prevent infection.
There are many scientific investigations that have shown that the administration of antiretroviral drugs to a mother infected with HIV or a baby exposed to the virus can significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission through natural lactation.
It's very important strike a balance between the risk of the nursing baby acquiring the HIV through breast milk and risk of death from other causes as without the nutrients and immunological factors in breast milk, many more children would die from severe diarrhea and respiratory diseases.
Antibodies have been found in breast milk that help stop the AIDS virus.
Recent research has succeeded in isolating antibodies produced by type B immune cells in the breast milk of mothers infected with HIV.
This finding shows that B cells in breast milk they can generate neutralizing antibodies that can inhibit the virus that causes AIDS.
In the new study, published in the journal PLoS One, B cells were isolated from the colostrum of HIV-infected women, and HIV-1 specific antibodies (CH07 and CH08) were detected and characterized.
One of the most common ways of transmission of HIV-1 is through the mucosa of the body, which are surfaces lined with epithelial cells, such as the gastrointestinal tract or vaginal tissue.