The challenges of adherence to infant feeding choices in prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV infections in South East Nigeria.
BACKGROUND: Global and national efforts in the 21st century are directed toward the elimination of new pediatric HIV infections through evidence-based infant feeding interventions for the prevention of mother-to-child-transmission, with patient preference, motivation, and adherence identified as key factors for success.
OBJECTIVES: This study assessed the challenges faced by HIV-infected parturients in adhering to the national infant feeding recommendations and their infant feeding preference for prevention of mother-to-child transmission in South East Nigeria.
METHODS: This is a cross-sectional, descriptive, questionnaire-based study of 556 parturients infected with HIV/AIDS.
RESULTS: The mean age of the participants was 28.0±5.3 years. The infant feeding choices were made jointly by both partners (61.1%) in the antepartum period. The HIV status disclosure rate was 89.2%. A large proportion (91.7%) practiced exclusive breastfeeding with highly active antiretroviral therapy, and 7.6% practiced mixed feeding because of nonadherence to their choice and national/international recommendations on infant feeding in the context of HIV/AIDS. This was mainly a result of pressure from family members (42.8%) and cultural practices (28.5%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicates that adherence was strongly associated with age, marital status, and employment status, but not with residence, educational status, or parity.
CONCLUSION: Exclusive breastfeeding is predominately the infant feeding choice among HIV-infected parturients in South East Nigeria, but there is still a gap between infant feeding preference and adherence to standard practice as a result of sociocultural challenges associated with risk for mixed feeding and the risk for mother-to-child-transmission of HIV by nursing mothers.