Q and A

Question

My viral load is high, can I breastfeed?

My daughter is 3 weeks old. I’ve not been breastfeeding her because I didn’t have very much milk. I now have a lot of milk. Is it OK to switch from formula to breast milk even if my viral load is high?

Answer

Thanks for getting in touch.

If your viral load is detectable and especially if it is high,  you need to keep to formula milk.

Otherwise, there is a high risk that your baby will become HIV positive.

Feeding guidelines for infants vary depending on where it is that a person lives. Breastfeeding in only recommended in some countries when viral load is undetectable.

With a high viral load there is a high risk of HIV transmission.

Also, for your own health, do you know why your viral load is detectable?

Are you taking HIV medicines? If yes, is your doctor planning to change these?

4 comments

  1. Tebogo

    My child is 3months and m HIV positve. He testtested twice with result of negative and recently my viral load is too high in I’ve been breastfeeding. Can he contact HIV from me?

  2. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Tebago, congratulations on having a baby. How high is your viral load?

    Transmission risk is very from mother to baby is very low. Are you and/or your baby on any medication, or have you been?

    As he has already tested negative it is likely that he will remain HIV negative. Has anything changed from when he has this test and your viral load going up/down?

  3. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Ayanda, your viral load is excellent. This will greatly reduce the risk of transmission when breastfeeding. Are both you and baby taking ARVs?

  4. Ayanda

    My viral load is 109 and I’m breastfeeding is my child will effected also?

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