19 July 2010
By Shashwat gupta ray
Bottle–feeding babies of HIV–infected women cuts down risk of HIV transmission to infants through breastfeeding. This was confirmed in a study by city–based National AIDS Research Institute (NARI) with other institutes such as Division of Infectious Disease, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA and B J Medical College, Pune.
The study has been jointly authored by Amita Gupta of Johns Hopkins, Kapila E Bharucha, Ramesh Bhosale, Srikanth Tripathy, Uma Nayak, Mridula Phadke and others.
“The study ‘Mother to Child Transmission (MTCT) of HIV in women’selected 41 such mothers. Of these women, 27 received MTCT prophylaxis (anti–HIV medication to prevent transmission from mother to child),” said Head, Clinical Sciences Department, NARI, Srikanth P Tripathy.
Of these 27 women, three received short course of zidovudine – an anti–HIV drug – a month before delivery twice daily. 19 of them received single dose of nevirapine (another anti–HIV drug), when they went into labour. Five mothers received both zidovudine and nevirapine. After delivery, the children were tested for HIV infection 11 times in their first year of life. After delivery, all the children, who went back to their mothers, received a dose of nevirapine.
“About 76 per cent were given only bottled milk and 24 per cent were given mixed feed. Four infants were diagnosed with HIV infection. Of these four, one infected child was given bottled milk, whereas the other three infected infants were given mixed feed,” Tripathy said. The study showed that bottle feeding reduces the risk of HIV transmission, as the risk is higher in breast feeding.
“We know that breast feeding does result in HIV transmission, despite infants getting medication after delivery. The risk is maximum during delivery or after delivery, when the infant is breastfed. When no medication is given, during pregnancy and neither to the child after delivery, about 40 per cent children get infected,” Tripathy said.
However, bottle milk lacks nutrition to build the immune system of the baby. “We are now studying how breast–feeding can be made safe for HIV–infected women,” Tripathy said.
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