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  • Writer's pictureICW

Breastfeeding and HIV: Advancing sexual and reproductive rights

In recent years, significant progress has been made worldwide in preventing vertical transmission of HIV, HBV, and syphilis. However, despite these achievements, women living with HIV still face challenges and violations of their rights within the prevention of vertical transmission services. A major concern is the lack of clarity and conflicting messages surrounding infant feeding practices for mothers with HIV. This uncertainty has led to limited choices for these women, affecting their decisions on contraception, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding remains a particularly contentious issue, with outdated attitudes and policies imposing unnecessary constraints on women's choices.

The pressure to use formula feeding poses challenges, especially for marginalized women who may not have access to clean drinking water or afford formula. Additionally, the criminalization of HIV status continues to be a threat, with cases of women being prosecuted for breastfeeding or comfort nursing. Women with HIV also face heightened levels of stigma and discrimination, impacting their overall well-being and autonomy. The interactions between healthcare providers and HIV-positive mothers often result in power imbalances and limited decision-making autonomy. Despite scientific evidence supporting the U=U principle (Undetectable = Untransmittable), interventions for mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis have not fully embraced this knowledge.

To address these issues ICW, GNP+, Y+, and PAC developed the session Breastfeeding and HIV: Advancing sexual and reproductive right to inform women living with HIV by safeguarding their human rights and promoting informed and autonomous decision-making on infant feeding practices through evidence-based discussions, likewise, to strengthen sexual and reproductive rights, ensuring the well-being and autonomy of mothers living with HIV.



🔹 Mariana Iacono - Activist, ICW Latina.

🔹 Annah Sango - Advocacy Officer, GNP+

🔹 Helena Nangombe - EPIC+

🔹 Jacquelyne Alesi - Director of Global Community Leadership for U=U, PAC.


🔹 Heather Ellis - Communications and Engagement Coordinator, Positive Women Victoria.

🔹 Nyasha Chingore-Munazvo - Human rights and HIV expert.

🔹 Dr. Natasha Davies - HIV Specialist: Clinical Care, INFORM+

🔹 Dr. Natalia Laufer - Associate Researcher, CONICET

🔹 Dr. Nigel Rollins - Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Adolescent Health and Aging, WHO.


Keren Dunaway, Global Programmes Officer, ICW.

This recording gives you access to interpretations in Français, Español and English + closed captions

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