Abstract

Abstract
Introduction: To prevent passing infection to their infants, Mozambican mothers with HIV are advised to follow
biomedical norms during breastfeeding. However, little is yet known about how HIV-positive mothers perceive
biomedical norms during the breastfeeding period.
Objective: To analyse lactating mothers’ perceptions and compliance with biomedical norms recommended for
reducing the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV via breastfeeding.
Method: A qualitative study was carried out consisting of in-depth interviews with 59 HIV-positive lactating mothers.
This involved 5 focus group discussions, direct observation and 6 semi-structured interviews with nurses. We used
Bourdieu’s theory of practice as a guiding framework for data analysis.
Results: Findings revealed participants had mixed perceptions and inadequate knowledge about breast milk and
exclusive breastfeeding. As well, participants struggled to comply with some biomedical norms. Approximately half of
the participants breastfed immediately after childbirth. Most participants do breastfeed on demand and all participants
complied with prescription regarding antiretroviral therapy for their infants. Of the 59 participants, 53 complied with
prescription of antiretroviral therapy for themselves.
A total of 56 participants did not comply with exclusive breastfeeding to the sixth month. This was due to a lack of
knowledge about exclusive breastfeeding, the perception that both breast milk and formula were not enough to feed
the baby up to the age of six months. Other factors included returning to school or work, illness of the mother and child,
lack of disclosure of HIV status of the mother as well as social norms.
Conclusion: The study results suggest participants’ perceptions, incorporated learned experiences and the social
environment they inhabit seem to influence compliance to biomedical norms. These norms seem new, and participants
are still processing its incorporation. Health education on exclusive breastfeeding and prevention of mother-to-child
HIV transmission should take into account the participant’s perceptions and their social environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalJournal of AIDS and Clinical Research
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2017

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