An initiative that has been carried out by five Spanish hospitals - Hospital Universitarios Virgen del Rocío in Seville, La Fe de Valencia, Virgen de la Arrixaca in Murcia, San Cecilio in Granada and the Hospital de Jerez - has provided milk free to babies children of women infected with HIV, during their first six months of life.
The project, which has been called COURTESY, aims to prevent healthy newborns from contracting the AIDS virus through breastfeeding, one of the main routes of transmission from mother to child - especially in those countries where the general population has less income-, which is between 7 and 15 percent of the cases of babies who become infected after childbirth. And is that antiretroviral therapies and the prophylactic measures have already managed to significantly reduce the percentage of babies infected during pregnancy and childbirth.
The project will be extended to all Spanish territory, so that HIV-infected mothers with an unfavorable socioeconomic status can feed their babies with this free milk
Not all babies who breastfeed and whose mothers are infected with the virus in turn become infected, since transmission depends on many factors, such as cracks in the mother's nipple and viral load, But newborns, lacking a fully developed immune system, are more vulnerable to infections, so use artificial lactation in these cases, along with the administration to the mother of an appropriate antiretroviral therapy, and deliver by cesarean section , are measures that have proven to be effective in reducing the spread of mothers to children that, in developed countries, currently means less than 1%.
The success of the COURTESY program, which has been presented at the III GeSIDA National Congress held in Seville, has encouraged its promoters to extend it throughout the Spanish territory, with the aim that all mothers who are infected with HIV and whose socioeconomic situation is unfavorable can benefit from this free milk to feed their children, without having to resort to breastfeeding with the dangers that this would entail for the baby.