Reprinted from, December 2006
Commentary: Revisiting the Risk of HIV Infection from Breastfeeding
By David Crowe HBSc, George Kent PhD, Pamela Morrison and Ted Greiner PhD

A 1992 meta-analysis by Dunn et al published in Lancet estimated that 14% of babies of HIV- positive mothers would become infected with HIV due to breastfeeding. This conclusion has been widely accepted, and is used to encourage formula feeding by HIV-positive mothers. The flaws in this meta-analysis may have led to errors in estimation of the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV through breastfeeding...

The international research organization, Another Look at HIV and Breastfeeding, headed by La Leche League, International founder Marian Tompson, posted a new document at its web site which refutes claims that breastfeeding increases the risk of HIV transmission. The idea that the vital health benefits of breastfeeding are outweighed by the risks of HIV transmission gained popularity following a meta-analysis that appeared in the medical journal Lancet in 1992.

The new document begins with an account of the authors' two-year struggle for publication in the Lancet, which ultimately ended in rejection. After more unsuccessful attempts at publication in the British Medical Journal and the Journal of Human Lactation, the authors decided it was more important to get the information to the public than to beg journals to publish controversial facts about analysis flaws in mainstream research. Interestingly, two of the article's authors, well know infant nutrition experts Ted Greiner and Pamela Morrisson, hold very mainstream views on HIV on AIDS.