A new research has proposed that HIV positive mothers should not practice weaning until their baby is not six months old.
It has been demonstrated that if breast feeding is stopped before the age of six months, then the baby becomes more susceptible to the infectious diseases, including pneumonia, jaundice and other terminal illness. Moreover, it has been illustrated that the mortality rates amongst the infants have been on an increase even due to the practice of weaning.
The study dubbed Breastfeeding, Antiretrovirals, and Nutrition (BAN) conducted by a team of researchers from Columbia University, New York, USA, and the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa in Malawi between March 2004 and January 2010, enrolled 2,369 HIV positive mothers and babies, who were divided into three groups namely: Maternal-antiretroviral, Infant-prophylaxis, Control group.
After a 48-week long study, it was concluded that the duo of mother and baby in the control group were at the highest risk of HIV transmission, next was the infant- prophylaxis group and Maternal-antiretroviral group was at the least risk of HIV transmission.
The findings of the study suggest that breastfeeding, antiretroviral, and nutrition, the three things, were necessary for the prohibition of transmission of HIV from mother to infant.
The authors of the study stated that weaning reduced the risk of transmission of HIV from mother to baby, but at the same time, it made the baby more susceptible to other diseases including malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhea and in a few cases can even lead to growth problems and worse can lead to death of the baby.
However, they illustrated that the transmission of the infection can be controlled by undergoing antiretroviral therapy (ART), along with breast feeding. It has been emphasized that the therapy helps reduce the risk of transmission.