Maternal HIV status and infant feeding practices among Ugandan women
To describe the infant feeding practices in the general population in Uganda, and to assess the impact of maternal HIV status on these practices, a questionnaire was administered to women attending the follow-up clinics for child vaccination. Among the mothers who were still breastfeeding at the time of interview (N=838), 61.4% of the HIV-infected women had planned to breastfeed for a maximum of 6 months, compared with 12.1% of the HIV-uninfected women (p<0.001). Among the women who were not breastfeeding at the time of interview (N=108), 82.5% of the HIV-infected women had stopped breastfeeding within 3 months, compared with 23.5% of the HIV-uninfected women (p<0.001). Only 2.1% of HIV-infected women seen up to 14 weeks postnatally practised mixed feeding, compared with 23.6% of HIV-uninfected women (p<0.001). After 6 months, however, 30% of the HIV-infected women and 55% of the HIV-uninfected mothers were using mixed feeding, with no significant differences. Programmes for the prevention of motherto- child transmission of HIV should re-enforce counselling activities to address the issue of early weaning by HIV-infected women, and to support safe breastfeeding up to 6 months.