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Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 13, Issue 4, Pages 237-240

Breast Milk Pasteurisation in Developed Countries to Reduce HIV Transmission. Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

1Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Royal Women's Hospital, 132 Grattan St, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia
2Victorian HIV Service, The Alfred Hospital, Prahran, VIC, Australia

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Transmission of HIV through breastfeeding is well documented. The World Health Organisation advise HIVinfected women in developed countries to use alternatives to breastfeeding together with highly active antiretroviral therapy and optimal management of delivery to prevent transmission of HIV to their infant.

Case report. We present the case of an HIV-infected woman electing to exclusively breastfeed for six months and applying milk pasteurisation techniques without transmission to her infant. Two paired samples of her breast milk were tested for HIV RNA prior to and after pasteurisation. The first pair of specimens reported no change in HIV RNA copy number, the second pair of specimens reported an increase in copy number.

Discussion. This technique, the evidence for HIV inactivation and the effects pasteurisation has on nutritional and immunological components of breast milk are discussed.

Conclusion. In conclusion, we believe there is currently insufficient data to recommend this technique either as a safe alternative to formula feeding in resource-rich countries or as a method for providing intact immunological components of breast milk to the infant.