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Are infant feeding options that are recommended for mothers with HIV acceptable, feasible, affordable, sustainable and safe? Pregnant women's perspectives

  • Marina Manuela de Paoli (a1), Rachel Manongi (a2) and Knut-Inge Klepp (a1)

Abstract

Objective:

To investigate pregnant women's views on infant feeding options recommended for HIV-infected women.

Design:

A structured interview survey complemented with focus group discussions.

Setting:

Antenatal clinics in Moshi urban and rural districts of Tanzania.

Subjects:

Five hundred pregnant women participated in the interview survey and 46 pregnant women participated in six focus group discussions.

Results:

Participating women reported that they would change to an alternative infant feeding method if they were found to be HIV-infected and were advised to do so. Cow's milk was regarded as the most feasible infant feeding method for local HIV-infected mothers. Infant feeding formula was regarded as too costly, but if recommended by health workers and distributed free of charge, the majority of the women (82%) were confident that they would then choose this option. In the focus group discussions, women were less optimistic and expressed great concern for the social consequences of not breast-feeding. The safety of exclusive breast-feeding was questioned. Less common infant feeding methods, such as expressed heat-treated breast milk and wet-nursing, were not regarded as viable options. Several social barriers to replacement feeding were identified in the focus group discussions, including possible lack of support from partner and potential negative reactions from the community.

Conclusion:

Future research on infant feeding options should include the broader cultural context and the psychological stress that HIV-infected women face when choosing infant feeding methods.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email m.m.d.paoli@basalmed.uio.no

References

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Keywords

Are infant feeding options that are recommended for mothers with HIV acceptable, feasible, affordable, sustainable and safe? Pregnant women's perspectives

  • Marina Manuela de Paoli (a1), Rachel Manongi (a2) and Knut-Inge Klepp (a1)

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