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
Keywords: HIV, breastfeeding, formula feeding, mother-to-child transmission, Uganda.

Abstract

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.
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eISSN: 1813-4424
print ISSN: 1729-0376