Transmission of human immunodeficiency virus through breast-feeding : recent physiopathological studies and rationale for prevention Volume 6, issue 3, Mai - Juin 2002


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Unité Inserm U430 (équipe VIH-muqueuses), Hôpital Broussais, 96, rue Didot, 75674 Paris Cedex 14

Post-natal transmission of HIV through breast milk remains an overriding public health concern in developing countries, with a transmission rate of 14 %. Several factors were identified in HIV transmission through breast milk : biological factors linked to the mother, such as the immune response to HIV, the viral load of free virus or cells associated virus in breast milk. The best prevention is to use artificial milk, which is unfortunately only available in countries of high or medium standard of living. In poorer countries, exclusive breast feeding for a relatively short period (4 to 6 months) followed by a quick weaning are currently the only recommendations.