Intended for healthcare professionals


Breast feeding is a major factor in HIV transmission

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 14 October 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:963
  1. Angus Nicoll, consultant epidemiologist (,
  2. Marie-Louise Newell, reader,
  3. Catherine S Peckham, professor
  1. PHLS Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, London NW9 5EQ
  2. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Child Health, University College London, London WC1N 1EH

    EDITOR—We disagree with Latham and Preble's statement that HIV transmission through breast feeding is rare and has been exaggerated.1 Worldwide about 600 000 children a year are infected through mother to child transmission, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, and breast feeding accounts for over a third of this number.2 At least 200 000 infections worldwide cannot be dismissed.

    In underresourced areas, such as most of sub-Saharan …

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