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n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Exclusive breastfeeding - what is its place in HIV prevalent areas? : main article
For HIV-negative mothers and those who do not know their HIV status, the optimal feeding method from birth to 6 months is exclusive breastfeeding.
HIV-positive women have to make the difficult choice of formula feeding or exclusive breastfeeding (i.e. avoidance of mixed feeding).
HIV is present in breastmilk.
Exclusive breastfeeding carries a postnatal HIV transmission risk of less than 5% at 6 months.
Exclusive breastfeeding carries a much lower postnatal HIV transmission risk than mixed breastfeeding.
Avoidance of breastfeeding carries increased risks of dying from infectious diseases e.g. diarrhoea and pneumonia.
It is possible for women to exclusively breastfeed for 6 completed months if they are given support.
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