Replacement-fed infants born to HIV-infected mothers in India have a high early postpartum rate of hospitalization

Mridula A Phadke, Bhaghyashree Gadgil, Kapila E Bharucha, Aparna N Shrotri, Jayagowri Sastry, Nikhil A Gupte, Ronald Brookmeyer, Ramesh S Paranjape, Pandurang M Bulakh, Hemalata Pisal, Nishi Suryavanshi, Anita V Shankar, Lidia Propper, P L Joshi, Robert C Bollinger
Journal of Nutrition 2003, 133 (10): 3153-7
Access to safe breast-feeding alternatives for HIV-infected mothers and their infants in many settings is limited. We compared the rates of early postpartum hospitalization of infants born to HIV-infected mothers using different infant-feeding practices in a large government hospital in Pune, India. From March 1, 2000 to November 30, 2001, infants born to HIV-infected mothers were followed in a postpartum clinic. All mothers had received a standard short course of antenatal zidovudine. Infant-feeding practices were assessed within 3 d of delivery, prior to postpartum hospital discharge. Sixty-two of 148 mothers (42%) were breast-feeding their infants. Eighty-six of the mothers (58%) were providing replacement feeding, primarily diluted cow, goat or buffalo milk (top feeding). Twenty-one of the 148 participating infants (14.2%) born during the study period required hospitalization within the 1st 6 mo of life and 6 infants required repeat hospitalization. All hospitalized infants were receiving replacement feeding with a rate of 0.093 hospitalizations per 100 person-days (95% CI, 0.062 to 0.136). The reasons for hospitalization included acute gastroenteritis (48.1%), pneumonia (18.5%), septicemia (11.1%) and jaundice (11.1%). A high risk for early postpartum hospitalization was seen in replacement-fed infants born to HIV-infected mothers in Pune, India. In settings such as India, where access to safe replacement feeding is limited, interventions making exclusive breast-feeding safer for HIV-infected mothers and infants are needed. Such interventions would be valuable additions to the very effective national prevention programs that currently rely on the provision of short-course zidovudine and nevirapine.

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