Agonizing Conditions Nursing Mothers With HIV Face

Health experts recommend milk from a mother's breast for healthy development and growth of  her baby. Breast milk is said to help the child acquire antibodies needed to fight diseases. But what if the mother is infected with HIV? This is a dilemma many HIV-postive mothers face across the world. She has two choice - to breastfeed or to bottle-feed.


Image courtesy of bkreader.com
According to scientist, a woman who is HIV-positive has a 1-in-7 chance of infecting her child through breast milk. A mother's milk is known as "the ultimate health food" for neonates. Bottled milk in recent times has been one of the major cause of infant diarrhea and has claimed but a few lives of babies infected.

What will a loving mother decide if she has HIV?


What ever decision she would take comes with a very big price. In order to avoid the risk of transmitting HIV to her offspring, a mother may choose bottle feeding. This will surely prevent the baby from get infected with HIV but it comes with a social consequence.

In many parts of the world especially Africa, it expected that a  mother breastfeed her baby. When a woman is always seen using bottle to feed her newborn child, what will people say? There is a lot of stigmatization on people living with HIV. No mother want to suffer such. A lot of questions will be asked. And answers will be required. In time people will begin to suspect she is HIV-positive. Soon she will be ostracized.

To avoid this kind of treatment many HIV-positive mothers may choose to breastfeed her baby. Sadly this has truly been the case. Newborn are infected with HIV.

Even if a mother choose to remain out of public radar just to bottle-feed her baby, problem may still arise. For instance, in environment where clean water is unavailable, preparing the formula with with unclean water put the baby at risk of water-borne diseases.

If clean water is readily available, another problem which can arise is finance. Infant formula are quite expensive. A mother may not be able to afford the cost so she is left with no choice but to take the risk of breastfeeding.

Of recent health authorities have advocated HIV-positive mothers to breastfeed their babies but must be on antiretroviral (ARV) drugs.

World Health Organization (WHO) recommends "that HIV-positive mothers or their infants take antiretroviral drugs  throughout the period of breastfeeding  and until the infant is 12 months old. This  means that the child can benefit from breastfeeding with very little risk of  becoming infected with HIV." But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States is against woman infected with HIV breastfeeding her baby.

Whatever the case may be, it is advisable that HIV-positive mothers should consult with a professional healthcare provider before taking any decision whether to breastfeed her baby or not.

21 comments:

  1. This is difficult, if a mother is infected with HIV. Feel sad but we must also save the welfare of the babies.

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  2. It is indeed a dilemma faced by mothers with HIV

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  3. I can imagine how difficult it must be for these moms. It is good to know that there are antiretroviral drugs that the moms can take as breastfeeding is important.

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  4. Oh my, this issue has never occurred to me before... as in, I've never heard about such dilemma that a HIV-positive mom would face. Thanks for sharing this information.

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  5. Oh gosh, can anything be done about it. It makes me sad thinking the stress and pressure the mum has to go through!

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  6. A harsh dilemma faced by some. There is absolutely no problems with bottle feeding a child - there shouldn't be the amount of pressure there is on women to breast feed.

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  7. I just can't imagine how it feels to be in this position. Moms are selfless by nature...always putting the welfare of their children before others.

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  8. Of a truth nursing mothers with HIV virus face even more agonizing conditions, however depends on your location , certain countries have taken steps to alleviate the burden like offering free ARV drugs, and such extra care to ensure child safety.

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  9. That surely is a dilemma but I personally think that bottle feeding in this case might still be best. I'm sure it won't be that difficult to boil the water before preparing the bottle, but then again, what do I know.

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  10. I cannot even imagine the pain the mother will be knowing that see cant feed her own child. =(

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  11. It's nice there's a drug that can prevent the transmission of HIV by breastfeeding moms to their babies. It would really be best to use bottles but just ensure that it is clean.

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  12. This is one those educative and touchy post , I wonder what such mother would be passing through. Not breast feeding a child can hugely affect the childs efficient growth. Following a capable professionals instruction is necessary for such person

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  13. This is an interesting read and the struggle they must have when faced with decisions like this

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  14. thanks for sharing this. its really a dilemma for moms who is HIV positive and breastfeeding their newborn child.
    When I had my first child, I breastfed for 1 year however I mixed it with milk formula coz I don't produce much milk to sustain my child's need. But I can attest that any child who was breastfed for atleast 1 year is much healthier than babies who was taking milk formula.

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  15. This is one predicament that mother will have a hard time coping up. Hope, there will be a permanent cure for HIV.

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  16. It's a complex issue, but I would rule in favor of what protects the baby from transmission of the virus.

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  17. HIV is really a problem, not only health-wise but also social-wise. It comes with a stigma and unfortunately the kids will grow up their whole life with this problem. Bottle-feeding is an easy way to avoid it, and people should stop being so judgmental and presumptive.

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  18. Awww... this is so bad. It's best for the child to go thru better healthier option.

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  19. Very tough decision to make, I just hope that more achievements will be done aiming prevention of HIV and bringing awareness so that people don't face such dilemmas.

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  20. I think it's great that you tackle this issue as HIV is actually more rampant now than we think it is. I worked in a government hospital before and drugs for HIV just keep coming as more victims come and ask for them.

    It's really sad that this has no cure and even innocent babies are infected because of transfer from mothers.

    I hope someday soon we find a cure.

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  21. I'd never heard about such issue, Thanks for sharing this information.

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