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News18 » Videos » News18 Shorts

Docs deny HIV+ woman right to breastfeed baby

Jul 03, 2007 09:10 PM IST India India

Meerut: It wasn’t easy for Raziya and Raees to deliver their child. And it hasn't become any better ever since then. Razia is HIV-positive, and she is afraid she will pass on the virus to her five-day-old son. So instead of breastfeeding, she is now feeding her baby powdered milk on the advice of the doctors at the Meerut Medical College. But for most of Tuesday, doctors were in two minds about what Raziya ought to do. "They couldn't decide between themselves,” says Raees. Breastfeeding by an HIV-positive mother is a controversial issue. There's a risk the virus will be passed on from mother to child, but poor patients may not have an option. “Transmission can occur both during delivery and after that. 10 to 15 per cent risk rate. In developed countries they recommends artificial feeding in AIDS cases but in our country hygiene is a big problem. In fact it can be more risky,” says National Programme Officer, Anti Retroviral Therapy, B B Riwari. Despite WHO, NACO and the central government being against breastfeeding by HIV-positive mothers, the lack of amenities in small towns means that NGOs often recommend breastfeeding. "There's a trace of the virus in the breast milk of HIV-positive mothers, but not enough to affect the child,” says Director, UP Centre of Positive People, Mukeah Singh First it was miserable infrastructure in case of HIV-positive deliveries. And now the question is whether to breast feed or not. Despite all the money spent on the awareness programmes, poor patients like Raziya in smaller towns are still caught between the problems of myths, lack of awareness and emotional dilemma.