Friday, 30 March 2007

Exclusive breastfeeding reduces HIV transmission

The subject of breastfeeding is complicated when the baby's mother is infected with HIV. Breastfeeding does carry an increased risk of HIV transmission but in Africa, with widespread poverty, the alternatives are not practical, so any way breastfeeding can be made safer is important.

The Lancet this week publishes the results of a study which demonstrates that babies who are exclusively breast-fed for six months are significantly less likely to acquire HIV from their mothers. If the babies receive other milk, the risk is doubled, and if they are given solids, the risk is increased eleven times.

There is an accessible report on the study in Science Daily, though I'm concerned to see a Google ad in the sidebar, promoting a tea as having 80% success rate for AIDS and HIV. Reuters Africa also have a report.

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