Effects of cessation of breastfeeding in HIV-1-exposed, uninfected children in Malawi

Taha E. Taha, Donald R. Hoover, Shu Chen, Newton I. Kumwenda, Linda Mipando, Kondwani Nkanaunena, Michael C. Thigpen, Allan Taylor, Mary Glenn Fowler, Lynne M. Mofenson

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39 Scopus citations


Background. We assessed morbidity rates during short intervals that accompanied weaning and cumulative mortality among HIV-exposed, uninfected infants enrolled in the postexposure prophylaxis of infants in Malawi (PEPI-Malawi) trial. Methods. Women were counseled to stop breastfeeding (BF) by 6 months in the PEPI-Malawi trial. HIV-uninfected infants were included in this analysis starting at age 6 months. Breastfeeding and morbidity (illness and/or hospital admission and malnutrition [weight-for-age Z-score, ≤2]) were assessed during age intervals of 6-9, 9-12, and 12-15 months. BF was defined as any BF at the start and end of the interval and no breastfeeding (NBF) was defined as NBF at any time during the interval. The association of NBF with morbidity at each mutually exclusive interval was assessed using Poisson regression models controlling for other factors. Cumulative mortality among infants aged 6-15 months with BF and NBF was assessed using an extended Kaplan-Meier method. Results. At age 6 months, 1761 HIV-uninfected infants were included in the study. The adjusted rate ratios for illnesses and/or hospital admission for NBF, compared with BF, was 1.7 (P,<.0001) at 6-9months, 1.66 (P=.0001) at 9-12 months, and 1.75 (P = .0008) at 12-15 months. The rates of morbidity were consistently higher among NBF infants during each age interval, compared with BF infants. The 15 months cumulative mortality among BF and NBF children was 3.5% and 6.4% (P = .03), respectively. Conclusions. Cessation of BF is associated with acute morbidity events and cumulative mortality. Prolonged BF should be encouraged, in addition to close monitoring of infant health and provision of support services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-395
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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