Can HIV-Positive Mothers Breastfeed Their Babies?

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According to the latest research on AIDS in 2018, it has been revealed that 38 million people around the world have HIV, there are 1.7 million new cases, and 770,000 people lost their lives due to HIV in 2018 alone.

Just by looking at this information, it can be understood how dangerous the HIV virus is. There are other conditions for infection with the HIV virus, which is usually transmitted during sexual intercourse. So, for example, the transfer of body fluids creates the necessary conditions for the HIV virus to be transmitted. So, can the HIV virus be passed on to children through breast milk, and can HIV-positive mothers breastfeed their babies? Let’s take a look at all the frequently asked questions…

What Is HIV In Turkey And How Is It Transmitted?

As a virus that causes AIDS, HIV attacks people’s immune systems. It causes a weakening of the immune system, preparing the appropriate environment for the formation of infection and decreasing the body’s power to fight infections. White blood cells in the human body protect the human body against diseases. Therefore, over time, the number of these cells in the body begins to decrease, and even the smallest microbe that enters the human body can cause a fatal disease.

Transmission of the HIV virus occurs only by the transfer of body fluids. Therefore, semen, blood, and anal or vaginal fluids can transmit the HIV virus. The HIV virus is transmitted most commonly through injectors and unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse. It is of great importance to be protected in all sexual experiences in order to protect against the risk of the HIV virus. Although the rate of transmission is high, the HIV virus cannot survive outside the body for very long and is therefore not a very easy virus to transmit. Being in the same environment, breathing the same air, wearing the same clothes, or drinking water from the same glass as a person with HIV does not transmit the virus. Body fluid transfer is necessary for the disease to be transmitted.

Can HIV-Positive Mothers Breastfeed Their Babies?

HIV virus can be transmitted from mother to baby. This contamination can occur during pregnancy as well as during lactation. If the HIV virus is detected during the pregnancy of the women, then the necessary treatment should be started immediately. After delivery, the treatment of mothers usually continues for life. At the same time, the baby should be given treatment that will prevent the development of HIV infection in his body. HIV is a virus that can also be found in breast milk. Therefore, it is recommended that mothers with HIV infection do not breastfeed their children, as there is a possibility that the disease can also be transmitted to the child.

When we look at the figures announced every year, it is seen that 1.5 million HIV-infected women are mothers on average. In cases where mothers did not receive HIV treatment before birth; It has been recorded that the probability of transmission of the HIV virus to the baby during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding is between 20 and 30 percent. However, with the research and drugs produced on this subject, the probability of transmission of the HIV virus to children can be reduced to less than 1%.

Women who have HIV and decide to become pregnant should first get information from a specialist doctor about the risks of the HIV virus on the mother and child. Therefore, it is important for the pregnancy and the post-pregnancy period to be under the control of a specialist doctor in terms of the healthy birth of the child. Thanks to the treatment methods developed today, the negative effects of the HIV virus on mothers can be eliminated and the transmission of the virus to children can be prevented. Therefore, it will also be life-saving for mothers to be aware of the HIV virus.

Prof. Dr. Abdullah ArmağanUrology Specialist

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