Psychosocial and economic determinants of infant feeding intent by pregnant HIV infected women in Tshwane/Pretoria

Joan Nteboheleng Matji, Dankwart F Wittenberg, Jennifer D Makin, Bridget Jeffery, Una E MacIntyre, Brian WC Forsyth


To determine the extent to which stigma, disclosure and socio-economic factors would affect infant feeding choices made antenatally by pregnant HIV positive women after the routine PMTCT counseling process.

Patients and methods:
The antenatal feeding choices and determinants thereof among 293 HIV infected women were studied at four antenatal clinics in two Tshwane townships.

Seventy four percent of the study participants intended to formula feed whilst 26% planned to breastfeed or mixed feed their babies. Those women who intended to breastfeed had a lower active coping ability, (AOR, 0.88, 95% CI: 0.82-0.94) and had less confidence to disclose their status to partners or husbands (AOR 0.54, 95% CI: 0.30-0.99). In addition these women were more than twice as likely to be married (AOR 2.06, 95% CI: 1.03-4.12) and were twice as knowledgeable about HIV transmission through breastfeeding (AOR 2.11, 95% CI: 1.14-3.90).

Counselling on infant feeding choices among HIV infected women should be sensitive to numerous internal and external factors impacting on the decision. The support that HIV infected women receive on their infant feeding decisions will entail psychosocial, community wide interventions, and frequent counseling sessions to assist them in coping with and disclosing their status.

Authors' affiliations

Joan Nteboheleng Matji, University of Pretoria

Dankwart F Wittenberg, University of Pretoria

Jennifer D Makin, University of Pretoria

Bridget Jeffery, University of Pretoria

Una E MacIntyre, University of Limpopo, Medunsa Campus

Brian WC Forsyth, Yale University

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PMTCT; HIV and infant feeding choices; pyschosocial determinants;

Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2008;2(3):114.

Article History

Date submitted: 2008-05-13
Date published: 2008-10-30

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