HIV positive mothers receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) while breastfeeding are less likely to transmit the virus to their kids, shows a new study.
Although formula feeding has been the recommended strategy for preventing postnatal HIV transmission in developed countries for many years, researchers have recognized that this intervention is not feasible for many women in resource-limited countries.
During the study, lead researcher Dr. Cecile Alexandra Peltier aimed of assessing the 9-month HIV-free survival of children with two strategies to prevent HIV mother-to-child transmission.
Women participating in the cohort study could choose the mode of feeding for their infant: breastfeeding with maternal HAART for six months, or formula feeding. All received HAART from 28 weeks of gestation.
The study showed that of the 227 infants who were breastfed during the trial, only one became infected with HIV.
Moreover, the overall mortality rate of the infants involved in the study was significantly higher in the formula-fed group (5.6pct) than in the breastfed group (3.3pct).
The researchers concluded that maternal HAART while breastfeeding could be a promising alternative strategy in resource-limited settings.
The findings appear in the current issue of AIDS, the leading journal in the field of HIV and AIDS research.