Psychosocial and economic determinants of infant feeding intent by pregnant HIV-infected women in Tshwane/Pretoria

  • JN Matji
  • DF Wittenberg
  • JD Makin
  • B Jeffery
  • UE MacIntyre
  • BWC Forsyth


Objectives. To determine the extent to which stigma, disclosure, coping and socio-economic factors would affect infant feeding
choices made antenatally by pregnant HIV-positive women after the routine prevention of mother-to-child transmission
counselling process.
Patients and methods. The antenatal feeding choices and determinants of these choices of HIV-infected women were studied
at four antenatal clinics in two Tshwane townships, between June 2003 and December 2005.
Results. Seventy-four per cent of the 293 study participants intended to formula feed their babies, while 26% planned to breastfeed or mixed feed. The women who intended to breastfeed had lower active coping ability (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 0.88, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.82 - 0.94), were less likely to have disclosed their status to partners or husbands (AOR 0.54, 95% CI 0.30 - 0.99), were twice as likely to be married (AOR 2.06, 95% CI 1.03 - 4.12) and were twice as knowledgeable about HIV transmission through breastfeeding (AOR 2.11, 95% CI 1.14 - 3.90).

Conclusion. Counselling on infant feeding choices among HIV-infected women should be sensitive to the numerous internal
and external factors that influence the decision. The support that HIV-infected women need in making their infant feeding
decisions will entail psychosocial, community-wide interventions, and frequent counselling sessions to assist them in coping
with and disclosing their status.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1999-7671
print ISSN: 1994-3032