P Van Der Merwe and E Majopelo-Batka
University of South Africa, South Africa
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: J AIDS Clin Res
In this paper, the authors do not enter the debate with new data on the relative risks of breast and formula feeding for infants in the context of HIV/AIDS in resource poor countries. Instead, the authors want to reflect briefly on what appear to be entrenched opinions on both sides of the feeding debate, opinions that are as much ideologically as rationally generated and that are so forceful that they may deflect careful consideration of all the factors involved in a particular situation. The findings in this research paper identify the wider importance of baby feeding practices and experience that goes beyond simply providing the baby with nutrition. The authors argue that choice should not be offered nor based on a reductionist conception of infant feeding divorced from its role in infant care. Apart from the issues of resources, guidelines generated without understanding of the determinants, context and role of infant feeding in child care are likely to lead to guilt and confusion in women who are apprised of their responsibility to prevent HIV transmission to their infants, but who are left uninformed and unsupported about how they may realistically protect their infants in a way which is intelligible within their cultural experience and social expectations. This paper explores South African women├ó┬?┬?s who belong to a mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) program views of their experience of breastfeeding and infant care in the context of HIV/Aids through the use of debate and informal discussions as a narrative tool. We want to caution, through the presentation of a narrative study on woman that belong to a MTCT programme, that changing infant feeding patterns may be just as complex as undertaking and attempting to change sexual and relationship behavior.
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