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November 9, 2005

Possible Child-to-Mother Transmission of HIV by Breastfeeding

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2005;294(18):2297-2302. doi:10.1001/jama.294.18.2301

To the Editor: In 1998, an outbreak of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection involving 402 children and 18 mothers of these children occurred at Benghazi Children’s Hospital in Libya. In 2001, 118 of these children and all 18 of the mothers (who were diagnosed as HIV infected in 1999) were referred to the National Institute for Infectious Diseases “Lazzaro Spallanzani,” Rome, Italy. The outbreak had been caused by a single monophyletic strain,1 and transmission to the children was likely nosocomial.2 Because the transmission mode for the mothers remained unknown, we investigated the possibility of child-to-mother transmission through breastfeeding.