SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS

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Maternal HIV status and infant feeding practices among Ugandan women

P Okong, PK Namaganda, L Bassani, MM Tabaro, F Zanetto, EB Mwebaze, L Weimer, L Tomasoni, F Castelli, M Giuliano


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.

AJOL African Journals Online