The prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission programme and infant feeding practices.
AffiliationInfectious Diseases and HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Unit, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town.
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AbstractSince the first cases of HIV transmission through breast-feeding were documented, a fierce debate has raged on appropriate guidelines for infant feeding in resource-poor settings. A major problem is determining when it is safe and feasible to formula-feed, as breast-milk protects against other diseases. A cross-sectional survey of 113 women attending the programme for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, was conducted. Over 95% of women on the programme formula-fed their infants and did not breast-feed at all. Seventy per cent of women said that their infant had never had diarrhoea, and only 3% of children had had two episodes of diarrhoea. Focus groups identified the main reasons for not breast-feeding given by women to their families and those around them. Formula feeding is safe and feasible in an urban environment where sufficient potable water is available.
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