Constant Risk for HIV Infection During Breastfeeding, June 16, 2004 Press Release - National Institutes of Health (NIH): "Analysis Shows Infants of Mothers Infected With HIV Face Nearly Constant Risk For HIV Infection For Duration of Breastfeeding - Previously, Researchers Thought Risk Diminished As Infants Grew Older
"After four weeks of age, infants who breast feed from mothers infected with HIV continue to be at risk for infection with HIV for as long as they breastfeed, according to an analysis conducted and funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health. Previously, researchers thought the risk for being infected with the virus from breast milk diminished as an infant grew older. The analysis determined that a significant proportion of infants — 42 percent — were infected by breast feeding after they were 4 weeks old. The study also found that infants were at greater risk for contracting the virus through breastfeeding if their mothers had low levels of CD4 cells, an immune cell targeted by the AIDS virus. Moreover, male infants were more likely to contract the virus through breastfeeding than were female infants...."