Pediatric Group Says HIV Mothers Can Nurse

Mother breastfeeding her baby | Image by freepik

A group of U.S. pediatricians has reversed a long-standing ban on mothers with HIV breastfeeding their babies, reports NBC 5 DFW:

“People with HIV can breastfeed their babies, as long as they are taking medications that effectively suppress the virus that causes AIDS, a top U.S. pediatricians’ group said Monday in a sharp policy change.

“The new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics reverses recommendations it had in place since the start of the HIV epidemic in the 1980s. It recognizes that routinely prescribed drugs can reduce the risk of transmitting HIV via breast milk to less than 1%, said Dr. Lisa Abuogi, a pediatric HIV expert at the University of Colorado and lead author of the report.

“‘The medications are so good now and the benefits for mom and baby are so important that we are at a point where it is important to engage in shared decision-making,’ Abuogi said.

“The drugs, known as antiretroviral therapy, don’t eliminate all risk of transmitting HIV through breast milk. Avoiding breastfeeding is the only certain way to prevent spreading the virus, Abuogi said. In addition, parents must breastfeed exclusively for the babies’ first six months because research shows that switching between breast milk and formula can disrupt an infant’s gut in ways that increase the risk of HIV infection.”

To read the entire article on NBC 5 DFW, please click HERE.

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