Babies On The Breast Of HIV Moms

Summary: Babies who breastfeed from mothers infected with HIV continue to be at risk for infection with HIV for as long as they breastfeed. Previously, it was thought that the risk for the baby being infected with the virus from breast milk diminished as the child grew older.(based on press release from NICHD -- National Institute of Child Health and Human Development -- of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Expert Perspective: "In many poor countries, mothers who are infected with HIV don't have the option of bottle feeding their infants to prevent spreading the virus to them," said Dr. Duane Alexander, head of NICHD. "This information will help us to devise new ways to help prevent infants from becoming infected with the AIDS virus." In developed countries like the United States, mothers infected with HIV are generally advised not to breastfeed their infants.

Our Comments: This is excellent research that provides information of clear value, information that is applicable to the real world. It is interesting that NIH is funding medical research primarily pertinent to poor countries But then again, it may become more pertinent to the US as the gulf between the rich and the poor grows greater. The poor in America are an undeveloped nation within our developed nation.

Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors, MedicineNet.com