7.3  Counselling the HIV-positive mother about feeding her baby

HIV-testing and counselling and PMTCT is covered in detail in the Communicable Diseases Module, and also in the Antenatal Care Module.

Mothers who are HIV-positive and their babies need special care before, during and after labour and delivery. Therefore, if the mother is counselled and HIV-tested before or during pregnancy, and she knows that she is HIV-positive, you should try to convince her to deliver her baby in a health facility. That way she and her baby will get special care from health professionals with special training in delivering babies from HIV-positive mothers, and preventing maternal to child transmission (PMTCT of HIV).

In the postnatal period, she may need to take antiretroviral (ARV) drugs prescribed for her by the HIV clinic, and your support is vital in helping her to keep to her drug regimen. Maintain confidentiality about her status and conduct frequent visits to this woman as she may require a lot of psycho-social support immediately after the delivery. If it is available link her with the community social support group. Always make sure her partner is counselled and HIV-tested and also involved in the whole care process.

7.2.3  Breastfeeding and birth control

7.3.1  Breast milk or formula?