Effects of Early, Abrupt Weaning on HIV-free Survival of Children in Zambia

Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center and the Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York 10032, USA.
New England Journal of Medicine (Impact Factor: 55.87). 07/2008; 359(2):130-41. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa073788
Source: PubMed


In low-resource settings, many programs recommend that women who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) stop breast-feeding early. We conducted a randomized trial to evaluate whether abrupt weaning at 4 months as compared with the standard practice has a net benefit for HIV-free survival of children.
We enrolled 958 HIV-infected women and their infants in Lusaka, Zambia. All the women planned to breast-feed exclusively to 4 months; 481 were randomly assigned to a counseling program that encouraged abrupt weaning at 4 months, and 477 to a program that encouraged continued breast-feeding for as long as the women chose. The primary outcome was either HIV infection or death of the child by 24 months.
In the intervention group, 69.0% of the mothers stopped breast-feeding at 5 months or earlier; 68.8% of these women reported the completion of weaning in less than 2 days. In the control group, the median duration of breast-feeding was 16 months. In the overall cohort, there was no significant difference between the groups in the rate of HIV-free survival among the children; 68.4% and 64.0% survived to 24 months without HIV infection in the intervention and control groups, respectively (P=0.13). Among infants who were still being breast-fed and were not infected with HIV at 4 months, there was no significant difference between the groups in HIV-free survival at 24 months (83.9% and 80.7% in the intervention and control groups, respectively; P=0.27). Children who were infected with HIV by 4 months had a higher mortality by 24 months if they had been assigned to the intervention group than if they had been assigned to the control group (73.6% vs. 54.8%, P=0.007).
Early, abrupt cessation of breast-feeding by HIV-infected women in a low-resource setting, such as Lusaka, Zambia, does not improve the rate of HIV-free survival among children born to HIV-infected mothers and is harmful to HIV-infected infants.( number, NCT00310726.)

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    • "Those who were breast fed for less than six months were more protected than those who were breast fed for longer period of time. This finding could be site/setting specific as early cessation of breastfeeding by HIV infected mothers in Zambia did not improve the HIV-free survival among their infants [31]. Breast milk viral load increases following early abrupt cessation of breastfeeding. "
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    ABSTRACT: Zimbabwe is one of the five countries worst affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic with HIV infection contributing increasingly to childhood morbidity and mortality. Among the children born to HIV positive mothers participating in the PMTCT programme, 25% tested positive to HIV. We investigated factors associated with HIV infection among children born to mothers on the PMTCT programme. A 1:1 unmatched case-control study was conducted at Chitungwiza Hospital, Zimbabwe, 2008. A case was defined as a child who tested HIV positive, born to a mother who had been on PMTCT programme. A control was a HIV negative child born to a mother who had been on PMTCT programme. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect data on demographic characteristics, risk factors associated with HIV infection and immunization status. A total of 120 mothers were interviewed. Independent risk factors associated with HIV infection among children included maternal CD4 count of less than 200 during pregnancy [aOR = 7.1, 95% CI (2.6-17)], mixed feeding [aOR = 29, 95% CI (4.2-208)], being hospitalized since birth [aOR = 2.9, 95% CI (1.2-4.8)] whilst being exclusively breast fed for less than 6 months [aOR = 0.1 (95% CI 0.03-0.4)] was protective. HIV infection among children increased if the mother's CD4 count was <=200 cells/muL and if the child was exposed to mixed feeding. Breastfeeding exclusively for less than six months was protective. We recommended exclusive breast feeding period for the first six months and stop breast feeding after 6 months if affordable, sustainable and safe.
    BMC Public Health 12/2013; 13(1):1181. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1181 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    • "However HMO can have direct effects on intestinal epithelial structure and function [11,12], and can interfere with the adhesion of infectious bacteria such as Campylobacter jejuni [13], HIV [14] and protozoan parasites such as Entamoeba histolytica [15]. Effects of HMO on the immune system have been shown by studies with both mouse and human T-lymphocytes and dendritic cells, and are mediated by interactions with cell surface C-type lectins such as P- and E-selectins, and DC-SIGN. "
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    ABSTRACT: Human milk oligosaccharides (HMO) are being studied by different groups exploring a broad range of potential beneficial effects to the breastfed infant. Many of these effects have been attributed to a growth promotion effect on certain gut organisms such as bifidobacteria. Additionally, evidence indicates that HMO are able to directly promote positive changes in gut epithelium and immune responses under certain conditions. This study utilizes a standardized ex vivo murine colon preparation to examine the effects of sialylated, fucosylated and other HMO on gut motor contractions. Only the fucosylated molecules, 2'FL and 3'FL, decreased contractility in a concentration dependent fashion. On the basis of IC 50 determinations 3'FL was greater than 2 times more effective than 2'FL. The HMO 3'SL and 6'SL, lacto-N-neotetraose (LNnT), and galactooligosaccharides (GOS) elicited no effects. Lactose was used as a negative control. Fucosylation seems to underlie this functional regulation of gut contractility by oligosaccharides, and L-fucose, while it was also capable of reducing contractility, was substantially less effective than 3'FL and 2'FL. These results suggest that specific HMO are unlikely to be having these effects via bifidogenesis, but though direct action on neuronally dependent gut migrating motor complexes is likely and fucosylation is important in providing this function, we cannot conclusively shown that this is not indirectly mediated. Furthermore they support the possibility that fucosylated sugars and fucose might be useful as therapeutic or preventative adjuncts in disorders of gut motility, and possibly also have beneficial central nervous system effects.
    PLoS ONE 10/2013; 8(10):e76236. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0076236 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Reflecting the WHO, UNICEF and UNAIDS joint statement (1997) and with evidence from other resource poor settings [12,36] the Government of Papua New Guinea developed the first country-specific guidelines relating to HIV and infant feeding in early 2009. Prior to this PNG followed the 2001 WHO guidelines [17]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Interventions to prevent mother to child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) during childbirth and breastfeeding can reduce HIV infections in infants to less than 5% in low and middle income countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends all mothers, regardless of their HIV status, practice exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant's life. In line with these recommendations and to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, in 2009 the PNG National Department of Health revised their National HIV infant feeding guidelines, reinforcing the WHO recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months followed by the introduction of other food and fluids, while continuing breastfeeding.The overall aim of this paper is to explore health care workers' knowledge regarding infant feeding options in PNG, specifically as they relate to HIV exposed infants. Methods: As part of a study investigating women's and men's experiences of prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) services in two sites in PNG, 28 key informant interviews were undertaken. This paper addresses one theme that emerged from thematic data analysis: Health care workers' knowledge regarding infant feeding options, specifically how this knowledge reflects the Papua New Guinea National HIV Care and Treatment Guidelines on HIV and infant feeding (2009). Results: Most informants mentioned exclusive breastfeeding, the majority of whom reflected the most up-to-date National Guidelines of exclusive breastfeeding for six months. The importance of breastfeeding continuing beyond this time, along with the introduction of food and fluids was less well understood. The most senior people involved in PMTCT were the informants who most accurately reflected the national guidelines of continuing breastfeeding after six months. Conclusion: Providing advice on optimal infant feeding in resource poor settings is problematic, especially in relation to HIV transmission. Findings from our study reflect those found elsewhere in identifying that key health care workers are not aware of up-to-date information relating to infant feeding, especially within the context of HIV. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring the most recent feeding guidelines are disseminated and implemented in clinical practice in PNG.
    International Breastfeeding Journal 06/2013; 8(1):6. DOI:10.1186/1746-4358-8-6
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