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Medical News & Perspectives
April 11, 2007

Breastfeeding Benefits in Some HIV Settings

JAMA. 2007;297(14):1540. doi:10.1001/jama.297.14.1540

Los Angeles—Breastfeeding's benefits to infants may outweigh the risks of postnatal mother-to-child HIV transmission in developing countries, according to study findings presented here at the 14th Annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

In a study in Botswana of 153 children (148 of whom were less than 2 years of age) who were hospitalized with severe diarrhea after floods contaminated water supplies, researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and colleagues found that the vast majority of the children were not breastfed. Only 1 of the 33 children who died had been breastfed, but had also received cow's milk and formula. HIV status of the mother or infant was not a risk factor for death.