Knowledge, perceptions and practices of HIV-infected mothers regarding HIV and infant feeding
Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the knowledge, perceptions and practices of HIV-infected mothers regarding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and infant feeding.
Design: A cross-sectional study design was applied.
Setting: The study was undertaken at a regional hospital in Bloemfontein.
Subjects: A total of 100 mother–infant pairs that were still in hospital after the delivery of the baby were included. All mothers were HIV-infected.
Outcome measures: Sociodemographic information, medical history, and knowledge, perceptions and practices related to infant feeding in the context of HIV were noted.
Results: The median age of mothers was 31 years, and most mothers reported anti-retroviral therapy (ART) use (93.0%). The median CD4 cell count was 383 cells/mm3, and median haemoglobin level was 11.4 g/dl. Most mothers planned to breastfeed their infant(s) (70.0%). A large percentage of the mothers reported that they did not know or were not aware of the fact that HIV can be transmitted to an infant via breastfeeding (43.0%). Only half of the mothers had been shown how to either breastfeed or formula feed by healthcare staff (depending on their choice).
Conclusion: The knowledge, perceptions and practices related to infant feeding were inadequate in mothers included in this study. Providing scientifically based, unbiased information is fundamental during counselling on infant feeding to ensure the success of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programmes. If women feel confident in their acquired knowledge, they are more likely to be self-empowered and make informed decisions related to infant feeding.
The full articles is available at https://doi.org/10.1080/16070658.2018.1503810
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