HIV testing in breastfed babies

HIV testing in breastfed babies

Retest baby six weeks after breastfeeding stops

30. HIV test after exclusive breastfeeding.png

It is possible for baby to become infected with HIV through breastmilk. Since the PCR test will detect HIV 6 weeks after infection, baby needs to get tested again 6 weeks after the last breastmilk feed.

Infection through breastmilk
There is a risk that HIV in the mother’s breastmilk may infect the baby. The baby may be infected at any time during breastfeeding.

The risk of infection is affected by a number of factors:

  • The risk is much lower if the mother exclusively breastfeeds (instead of mixed feeding).
  • The risk is small if the mother is virally suppressed.
  • And the risk is reduced if the baby gets HIV prophylaxis correctly.

Type of test
The type of HIV test you should use will depend on the age of the child:

  • For children less than 18 months old, use a HIV PCR test.
  • For children older than 18 months, use an HIV antibody test.

How do you support HIV positive mothers to exclusively breastfeed?

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