- Women who are living with HIV can use LAM. Breastfeeding will not make their condition worse. There is a chance, however, that mothers living with HIV, if they are not taking antiretroviral therapy (ART), will transmit HIV to their infants through breastfeeding.
- Women taking ART can use LAM. Giving ART to an HIV-infected mother or an HIV-exposed infant very significantly reduces the risk of HIV transmission through breastfeeding. Among women who are not taking ART, 14% of their babies will be infected after 2 years of breastfeeding. Among women taking ART, less than 1% of their babies will be infected.
- Exclusive breastfeeding reduces the risk of death from common childhood illness and improves the health and development of the child and also the health of the mother.
- If national policy supports breastfeeding by women with HIV, they should receive the appropriate ART interventions and should exclusively breastfeed their infants for the first 6 months of life, introduce appropriate complementary foods at 6 months, and continue breastfeeding for the first 12 months. Breastfeeding should then stop only once a nutritionally adequate and safe diet without breast milk can be provided.
- Urge women with HIV to use condoms along with LAM. Used consistently and correctly, condoms help prevent transmission of HIV and other STIs.
- At 6 months—or earlier if her monthly bleeding has returned or she stops exclusive breastfeeding—a woman should begin to use another contraceptive method in place of LAM.
(For further guidance on infant feeding for women with HIV, see Maternal and Newborn Health, Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV.)