A new mother recently sought advice from a doctor who writes for a newspaper concerning a unique dilemma she is facing. Here is her question:
I am HIV negative but my husband is HIV positive. Can I breastfeed my baby? Some of my friends insist I should not breastfeed, and I am therefore confused.
Here is the doctor’s response:
Your question implies that you did not receive proper advice from your antenatal care. Did you or your husband disclose his status during your visits to your antenatal clinic? If yes, then the clinics should have given you a definitive answer.
If a woman is HIV-negative, unless there are other reasons for not breastfeeding, she should breastfeed regardless of whether the husband is HIV-positive or not.
HIV-positive mothers should not breastfeed their babies because of the risk of infecting the babies. This risk does not apply if you are HIV-negative. You should therefore go ahead and breastfeed.
For more, here is a video on staying healthy in a mixed-status relationship.
Author: Ali Juma