Q and A

Question

My baby is on nevirapine and I’m breastfeeding, is my baby positive?

Answer

Hi there,

Firstly, congratulations on having your baby.

It is normal for your baby to be given a short course (4 weeks) of HIV treatment (such as nevirapine) when born. This doesn’t mean your baby is HIV positive. This will be checked later through testing. A different type of testing is also used on babies as the normal antibody test used in adults will show the baby as positive.

Our guide on pregnancy has lots more information

https://i-base.info/guides/pregnancy

Do you mind me asking if you are taking HIV treatment for your health?

In the UK, the BHIVA (British HIV Association) guidelines recommend bottle feeding.

This is because in countries where mothers can have access to to formula milk AND clean water ANDĀ bottle sterilising equipment, the risk of transmitting HIV to the baby through bottle feeding is zero. There are different recommendations for other countries though and many women breastfeed. I am not sure about the recommendations in Zambia.

This means that you are doing the best that you can to protect your baby.

However, being positive and looking after a new born baby can be hard and many people need help. Do you have much support around you to help or are you touch with good care from your doctor?

216 comments

  1. Satisfied

    Hi, my baby is 5 days old and is constipated he is on nevirapine can I give him gripe water

  2. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Tertia,

    Babies born to positive mothers need to be given either formula or breastmilk, not both. If you mix feed there’s a higher risk of transmission.
    If your viral load is detectable, it’s important that you don’t breastfeed your baby.

  3. Tertia

    Hi I recently found out I was positive when giving birth and started with ARV immediately and the baby wa given Nevirapine.

    I would like to know if it’s safe to breastfeed and give the baby formula as I’ll be going back to work?

  4. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Kety,

    Please see the following from the WHO: https://www.who.int/hiv/pub/guidelines/arv2013/art/WHO_CG_table_7.8.pdf

  5. Kety

    Hi how many times am I suppose to give my baby nevirapine in a day, she is only one week old and I don’t know her status the nurses never said anything nor teach us anything during prenatal visits

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