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Report Says African Mothers Confused Over Infant-Feeding Options To Prevent HIV Transmission

Some women in African nations are “dangerously confused about the best nutritional path to protect their children from contracting [HIV],” a new report, based on research by community health workers from Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Nigeria, shows, PlusNews reports. Though the most recent WHO guidelines (.pdf) on infant-feeding options for HIV-positive mothers in Africa have been adopted in many countries, the recommendation that infants be exclusively breastfed for their first six months has not reached local health care workers or policymakers, according to the report, which was launched this week at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The report also “found that prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs were focused too narrowly on the provision of [antiretrovirals (ARVs)] to HIV-positive pregnant women, rather than more comprehensive approaches that involved family planning, maternal health care and exclusive breastfeeding,” according to the news service (12/9).