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: 4.71). 05/2011; 2(3):225-43. DOI: 10.3945/an.110.000224
Source: PubMed


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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Available from: Eveline Geubbels
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    • "Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) is the primary cause of pediatric HIV infections worldwide, accounting for more than 90% of cases in the absence of prevention of MTCT (PMTCT) interventions.1–3 Between 129,000 and 194,000 of the 430,000 pediatric HIV infections worldwide are attributable to breastfeeding without antiretrovirals (ARVs).1,4 "
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    ABSTRACT: Global and national efforts in the 21st century are directed toward the elimination of new pediatric HIV infections through evidence-based infant feeding interventions for the prevention of mother-to-child-transmission, with patient preference, motivation, and adherence identified as key factors for success. This study assessed the challenges faced by HIV-infected parturients in adhering to the national infant feeding recommendations and their infant feeding preference for prevention of mother-to-child transmission in South East Nigeria. This is a cross-sectional, descriptive, questionnaire-based study of 556 parturients infected with HIV/AIDS. The mean age of the participants was 28.0±5.3 years. The infant feeding choices were made jointly by both partners (61.1%) in the antepartum period. The HIV status disclosure rate was 89.2%. A large proportion (91.7%) practiced exclusive breastfeeding with highly active antiretroviral therapy, and 7.6% practiced mixed feeding because of nonadherence to their choice and national/international recommendations on infant feeding in the context of HIV/AIDS. This was mainly a result of pressure from family members (42.8%) and cultural practices (28.5%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicates that adherence was strongly associated with age, marital status, and employment status, but not with residence, educational status, or parity. Exclusive breastfeeding is predominately the infant feeding choice among HIV-infected parturients in South East Nigeria, but there is still a gap between infant feeding preference and adherence to standard practice as a result of sociocultural challenges associated with risk for mixed feeding and the risk for mother-to-child-transmission of HIV by nursing mothers.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Patient Preference and Adherence
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    • "Although approximately 42% of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) is due to prolonged breast-feeding [2-4], for many HIV-1-positive mothers formula feeding is not an option for social, practical and health reasons; breast-feeding reduces infant mortality due to nutrition and protection against other common childhood diseases [5]. Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) can significantly reduce the risk of MTCT, ARTs reach approximately 57% of HIV-1-infected mothers in low- and middle-income countries [6], and residual MTCT can occur despite ART [7]. Thus, development of safe, effective, accessible vaccines to decrease the prevalence of HIV-1 among mothers and to protect infants against their mother’s HIV-1 in the breast milk is a desired complement to the successful prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 by ART and ultimately the best solution. "
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    ABSTRACT: A vaccine to decrease transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) during breast-feeding would complement efforts to eliminate infant HIV-1 infection by antiretroviral therapy. Relative to adults, infants have distinct immune development, potentially high-risk of transmission when exposed to HIV-1 and rapid progression to AIDS when infected. To date, there have been only three published HIV-1 vaccine trials in infants. We conducted a randomized phase I clinical trial PedVacc 001 assessing the feasibility, safety and immunogenicity of a single dose of candidate vaccine MVA.HIVA administered intramuscularly to 20-week-old infants born to HIV-1-negative mothers in The Gambia. Infants were followed to 9 months of age with assessment of safety, immunogenicity and interference with Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) vaccines. The trial is the first stage of developing more complex prime-boost vaccination strategies against breast milk transmission of HIV-1. From March to October 2010, 48 infants (24 vaccine and 24 no-treatment) were enrolled with 100% retention. The MVA.HIVA vaccine was safe with no difference in adverse events between vaccinees and untreated infants. Two vaccine recipients (9%) and no controls had positive ex vivo interferon-γ ELISPOT assay responses. Antibody levels elicited to the EPI vaccines, which included diphtheria, tetanus, whole-cell pertussis, hepatitis B virus, Haemophilus influenzae type b and oral poliovirus, reached protective levels for the vast majority and were similar between the two arms. A single low-dose of MVA.HIVA administered to 20-week-old infants in The Gambia was found to be safe and without interference with the induction of protective antibody levels by EPI vaccines, but did not alone induce sufficient HIV-1-specific responses. These data support the use of MVA carrying other transgenes as a boosting vector within more complex prime-boost vaccine strategies against transmission of HIV-1 and/or other infections in this age group. NCT00982579 The Pan African Clinical Trials Registry PACTR2008120000904116.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Heat-treating expressed breastmilk is recommended as an interim feeding strategy for HIV-exposed infants in resource-poor countries, but data on its feasibility are minimal. Flash-heating (FH) is a simple in-home technique for heating breastmilk that inactivates HIV although preserving its nutritional and anti-infective properties. Our primary objective was to determine, among HIV-infected mothers, the feasibility and protocol adherence of FH expressed breastmilk after 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Prospective longitudinal. One hundred one HIV-infected breastfeeding mothers. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Peer counselors provided in-home counseling and support on infant feeding from 2 to 9 months postpartum. Mothers were encouraged to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months followed by FH expressed breastmilk if her infant was HIV negative. Clinic-based staff measured infant growth and morbidity monthly, and mothers kept daily logs of infant morbidity. FH behavior was tracked until 9 months postpartum using daily logs, in-home observations, and clinic-based and home-based surveys. Bacterial cultures of unheated and heated milk samples were performed. Thirty-seven of 72 eligible mothers (51.4%) chose to flash-heat. Median (range) frequency of milk expression was 3 (1-6) times daily and duration of method use on-study was 9.7 (0.1-15.6) weeks. Mean (SD) daily milk volume was 322 (201) mL (range 25-1120). No heated and 32 (30.5%) unheated samples contained bacterial pathogens. FH is a simple technology that many HIV-positive women can successfully use after exclusive breastfeeding to continue to provide the benefits of breastmilk while avoiding maternal-to-child transmission associated with nonexclusive breastfeeding. Based on these feasibility data, a clinical trial of the effects of FH breastmilk on infant health outcomes is warranted.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
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