BACKGROUND: We assessed gastroenteritis (GE) burden in 2 randomized trials conducted in Malawi to reduce postnatal HIV transmission before and after World Health Organization recommendations regarding exclusive breastfeeding for HIV-exposed infants were adopted. The 2 trials were the nevirapine/AZT (NVAZ, 2000-2003 with prolonged breastfeeding) and the Postexposure Prophylaxis to the Infant (PEPI, 2004-2007 with breastfeeding cessation by 6 months). METHODS: From NVAZ and PEPI trials data, GE frequency through age 12 months among HIV-negative exposed infants was evaluated. Overall and GE-related cumulative mortality rates were estimated using Kaplan-Meier curves. RESULTS: The frequency of at least one GE-related hospitalization was greater in PEPI vs. NVAZ after age 6 months (respectively, 2.9% vs. 0.1%, at 7-9 months and 1.6% vs. 0.2% at 10-12 months, P < 0.001). Cumulative GE-related mortality was significantly higher in PEPI than in NVAZ after age 6 months; at ages 9 and 12 months GE-related mortality was 19 and 24 per 1000 infants in PEPI vs. 7 and 12 per 1000 infants in NVAZ (P = 0.0002). CONCLUSIONS: Early weaning was associated with increased risk of severe GE and GE-related mortality among HIV-exposed infants. Strategies are urgently needed which allow longer breastfeeding while reducing the risk of HIV breast milk transmission in resource-limited settings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases
- Pharmacology (medical)
- HIV-exposed infant