Breast-feeding and HIV transmission: Epidemiologic studies and their limitations

Babgaleh Timbo, Sean Altekruse, Mary Glen Fowler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Postnatal human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission from an HIV- infected mother to child has been attributed mostly to breast-feeding. However, the mechanism and timing of HIV transmission via breast-feeding and the risk factors for that mode of transmission are not well defined. A series of case reports and cohort studies have provided useful but incomplete information on the transmission of HIV through breast-feeding. Various studies have yielded risk estimates of 15-40%. The stage of the HIV infection in the mother and the immunologic constituents of the breast milk have been suggested as important determinants of HIV transmission through breast- feeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-768
Number of pages10
JournalNutrition Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast milk
  • Breast-feeding
  • Epidemiology studies
  • Postnatal HIV transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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