In a statement released for World AIDS Day on December 1, WABA has drawn attention to the need to promote, protect and support breastfeeding for HIV-exposed babies.
Breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of life, followed by continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods, is recommended for mothers living with HIV who adhere to their medications and helps prevent the risk of mortality from infectious diseases and malnutrition.
Since the provision of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to women living with HIV, along with improved medication regimens, rates of HIV transmission from mothers to babies have greatly reduced. Well over a million infections were prevented between 2010 and 2015.
The WABA statement says “Current global HIV and infant feeding policy has been designed to maximise HIV-free survival of infants and their mothers through routine early testing and prompt provision of ART”.
It is now recommended that mothers living with HIV should receive lifelong ART to protect their own health, but also to suppress viral levels in their blood and their breastmilk to undetectable amounts.
WABA says that the duration of breastfeeding should not be restricted and concludes that improving women’s health is of crucial importance to society.
To read the full statement:
See also: What Women need to know about breastfeeding in the HIV context
Our summary of Breastfeeding and HIV for healthcare professionals: https://www.laleche.org.uk/breastfeeding-hiv/