Mohammed A. Abdullahi, Zubairu Iliyasu*, Aishatu L. Adamu, Isa S. Abubakar, Hamisu M. Salihu and Muktar H. Aliyu
Background: Despite the global decline in pediatric HIV infections, infants in sub-Saharan Africa still acquire HIV infection through inappropriate feeding.
Objective: The aim of the study was to compare knowledge and predictors of infant feeding behavior between mothers living with HIV and controls of unknown HIV status in Gombe, northeast Nigeria.
Method: A cross-section of clinic-based samples of 84 HIV-positive mothers and 170 controls of unknown status were interviewed using validated questionnaires. Knowledge scores and self-reported infant feeding practices were analyzed. Multivariate logistic regression models were employed to determine predictors for infant feeding practices.
Results: Transmission risk perception (95.2% vs. 65.3%) (p<0.05) and adequate knowledge of infant feeding (77.4% vs. 51.2%) (p<0.05) were higher among HIV-positive mothers. Compared to mothers of unknown status (56.5%), a higher proportion of HIV-positive mothers (84.5%) reported breastfeeding the infant exclusively for 6 months (p<0.05). In contrast, mixed feeding was more prevalent among controls (19.4% vs. 4.8%) (p<0.05). Further, over a third (39.3%) of HIV-positive mothers and 27.6% of controls weaned their infants at ≥12 months (p>0.05). Antenatal attendance, hospital delivery, knowledge and positive attitude predicted infant feeding practices in both groups. The predictive roles of education and parity were limited to HIV-positive mothers, while the effects of maternal age and infant death were restricted to controls.
Conclusion: Risk perception, knowledge, and exclusive breastfeeding rates were higher among mothers living with HIV. Antenatal care, hospital delivery, knowledge, and attitude predicted infant feeding practices in both groups. Girl child education, antenatal care, hospital delivery, and sustained promotion of exclusive breastfeeding with antiretroviral therapy are key to HIV-free infant survival.
HIV, infant feeding, exclusive breastfeeding, knowledge, predictors, risk perception.
Department of Community Medicine, Bayero University, Kano, Department of Community Medicine, Bayero University, Kano, Department of Community Medicine, Bayero University, Kano, Department of Community Medicine, Bayero University, Kano, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, Department of Health Policy and Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Tennessee