Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Questions and answers on infant feeding in the context of HIV

Introduction

The WHO 'Guidelines on HIV and infant feeding' outline how national authorities should revise policies on infant feeding in the context of HIV. In 2010, representatives from national authorities, programme implementers and civil society from about 20 countries attended a series of workshops in Nairobi and Harare and asked questions about the Guidelines and how they should be understood and adapted for local implementation. This Q&A is intended to respond to those questions.

The questions reflect technical and programmatic issues, and sometimes appear in more than one section. There are general questions and others grouped by audience type. Please contact WHO with comments and any additional questions mncah@who.int.

The Guidelines

Research reports published in 2009 and 2010 have demonstrated the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV transmission through breastfeeding. This evidence has significantly resolved the complex and difficult question of how an HIV-positive mother should feed her infant. The Guidelines on HIV and infant feeding 2010 reflect the most current evidence, making possible simplified public health approaches to promote HIV-free survival of infants born to HIV-infected mothers.

These Guidelines complement the WHO guidelines 'Antiretroviral drugs for treating pregnant women and preventing HIV infection in infants 2010.' As part of WHO’s undertaking to continually review all new evidence, it is expected that updated guidelines will be released in 2013.

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