Article

Current Knowledge and Future Research on Infant Feeding in the Context of HIV: Basic, Clinical, Behavioral, and Programmatic Perspectives

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.
Advances in Nutrition (Impact Factor: 3.2). 05/2011; 2(3):225-43. DOI: 10.3945/an.110.000224
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In 2008, between 129,000 and 194,000 of the 430,000 pediatric HIV infections worldwide were attributable to breastfeeding. Yet in many settings, the health, economic, and social consequences of not breastfeeding would have dire consequences for many more children. In the first part of this review we provide an overview of current knowledge about infant feeding in the context of HIV. Namely, we describe the benefits and risks of breastmilk, the evolution of recommended infant feeding modalities in high-income and low-income countries in the last two decades, and contextualize the recently revised guidelines for infant feeding in the context of HIV current knowledge. In the second section, we suggest areas for future research on the postnatal prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in developing and industrialized countries. We suggest two shifts in perspective. The first is to evaluate PMTCT interventions more holistically, to include the psychosocial and economic consequences as well as the biomedical ones. The second shift in perspective should be one that contextualizes postnatal PMTCT efforts in the cascade of maternal health services. We conclude by discussing basic, clinical, behavioral, and programmatic research questions pertaining to a number of PMTCT efforts, including extended postnatal ARV prophylaxis, exclusive breastfeeding promotion, counseling, breast milk pasteurization, breast milk banking, novel techniques for making breast milk safer, and optimal breastfeeding practices. We believe the research efforts outlined here will maximize the number of healthy, thriving, HIV-free children around the world.

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