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[pronut-hiv] Why do early infant testing?


  • From: "Ted Greiner" <tedgreiner@yahoo.com>
  • Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2007 10:54:09 -0800 (PST)

Rachel,

Is it impossible for you to imagine that finding out early that an infant is HIV-infected will improve treatment? Avoid that the mother stops breastfeeding early, thereby increasing the risk of its weakened immune system being subjected to multiple unnecessary infections and shortening the child's life?

Please read the Humphrey report I gave the URL to if you have difficulty understanding why rapid cessation of breastfeeding at 6 weeks for HIV-negative infants could cause problems. 3 of the 13 mothers who were followed up gave any other milk after stopping breastfeeding; Calcium and vitamin B12 intakes for the others met as little as 10% of requirements.

In the context of poverty and poor quality health care, it is impossible to sustainably maintain infant survival without breastfeeding. The Botswana diarrhea epidemic of early 2006, leading to over 500 documented infant deaths in just a few hospitals alone (http://www.aidsmap.com/cms1177384.asp), was dramatic and outside expertise was called in to document it.

I truly fear that a large proportion of health professionals in Africa share your orientation toward this issue. Too little research of this kind has been done to be able to document what is actually going on in Africa, but it is possible that a narrow focus on getting HIV+ women to avoid or quickly stop breastfeeding is causing an ongoing, hidden public health and human rights tragedy.

Ted Greiner

------"Rachel Stern" wrote:


Am I understanding this correctly? That you test
the baby at 6 weeks, then
mom is to continue breastfeeding, even if the
baby tests negative. So what
is the point of this testing? Data collection?
Observation of the natural
course of transmission?

I think this is a shame.