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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

HIV Infection, Breastfeeding, and Human Milk Banking


Lancet (07/16/88) No. 8603, 1988 Vol. 2, P. 143

The Lancet, in an editorial, says the risk infants face from breast-milk transmission of HIV is most likely much lower than the risk of antenatal or perinatal infection. Although some public health experts feel all HIV-positive mothers should be dissuaded from breastfeeding, it may be premature to tell women in Africa to avoid what is the only safe food for infants. In the United Kingdom, Department of Health advice that "all high risk women" should refrain from breastfeeding seems irresponsible and discriminatory. A separate issue is pooled human blood. If donated milk is pasteurized, there is no need to check the donors for HIV seropositivity. The Lancet concludes that it is unprofessional to categorize women based on their own or their partner's sexual activities, place of residence, or national origin. British medical organizations should avoid possibly discriminatory stances until more data is available.


Copyright © 1988 -CDC Prevention News Update, Publisher. All rights reserved to Information, Inc., Bethesda, MD. The CDC National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention provides the following information as a public service only. Providing synopses of key scientific articles and lay media reports on HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis does not constitute CDC endorsement. This daily update also includes information from CDC and other government agencies, such as background on Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) articles, fact sheets, press releases and announcements. Reproduction of this text is encouraged; however, copies may not be sold, and the CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News Update should be cited as the source of the information. Contact the sources of the articles abstracted below for full texts of the articles.

Information in this article was accurate in July 16, 1988. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.