There is a long standing debate on whether a mom who has HIV or AIDS should breastfeed. My gut reaction is that if there’s even a small risk of passing a life-threatening disease onto my baby, why would I breastfeed? But it’s not as simple as that.
In many countries where HIV is prevalent, breastfeeding is also vital. The benefits that breastfeeding gives a baby against illness can be life-saving, not to mention the fact that clean water is scarce, so formula can easily cause disease itself. It’s a decision that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
But a new study shows that not only can a baby not contract HIV through breast milk, but breast milk kills HIV.
This doesn’t mean that a baby absolutely can’t get HIV from breastfeeding. There are documented cases of babies having the same virus as their mothers. So while a baby won’t HIV through breast milk, they could get it through other bodily fluids, cracked and bleeding nipples come to mind.
Hopefully this new information will not only give HIV-positive mothers the confidence that breastfeeding their baby, if done with caution, will not spread the illness, but maybe one day it will help us develop a cure for AIDS. It amazes me, not only the things that are in breast milk, but the fact that we are still discovering so much. It is impossible to make a substitute to such a wonderful liquid that we have yet to discover all of its ingredients or potential. Breast milk really is liquid gold.