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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and Acquired Immunodeficiency Virus (AIDS)

Should a woman infected with HIV breastfeed her baby?

No. The CDC policy continues to be that HIV-infected women in the United States should not breastfeed their infants.

Reference: HHS. Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding. 2000 , pp 12-13.

Should a woman who has been exposed to HIV during her pregnancy or around the time of delivery breastfeed her baby?

No. CDC recommends that infected women in the United States refrain from breastfeeding to avoid postnatal transmission of HIV-1 to their infants through breast milk. These recommendations also should be followed by women receiving antiretroviral therapy. Passage of antiretroviral drugs into breast milk has been evaluated for only a few antiretroviral drugs. ZDV, 3TC, and nevirapine have been detected in the breast milk of women.

For more information on maternal-infant transmission of HIV, visit AIDSinfo's Maternal-Child Transmission.

Are special precautions needed for handling breast milk?

No special precautions exist for handling expressed human milk, nor does the milk require special labeling. It is not considered a biohazard. The Universal Precautions to prevent the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis B virus, and other bloodborne pathogens do not apply to human milk.

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