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HIV-positive Peer Mentors - Infants 2.38x More Likely to Be Breastfed Exclusively for at Least 6 Months

Wed, 04/05/2023 - 07:03

Strategy researched

A clinic-based support intervention that involves HIV-positive peer mentors, in addition to standard clinic (SC) care, to improve maternal and infant well-being among women living with HIV (WLH) from pregnancy through the infant's first year of life

Impact achieved

The enhanced intervention (EI) out-performed SC on 4 of 19 outcomes, indicating significant overall benefits in EI compared to SC using the binomial test (correlation = 0.1, p = 0.006). Compared to SC infants, EI infants were more likely to be fed using one feeding method (odds ratio (OR) = 3.02, p = 0.019), to have a larger increase in weight-for-age z-score≥−2 between birth and 12 months post-birth (OR = 1.08, p = 0.035), and to be breastfed exclusively for at least 6 months (OR = 2.38, p = 0.040). EI mothers reported a larger decrease in depressed mood between baseline and 12 months post-birth (OR = 1.08, p = 0.002) compared to SC mothers.

Country of study

South Africa

Research methodology

Cluster RCT


PLOS ONE; 2014

Journal paper title and link

A cluster randomized controlled trial evaluating the efficacy of peer mentors to support South African women living with HIV and their infants

Excerpt from Abstract

"WLH attended an average of 4.1 sessions (SD = 2.0); 13% did not attend any sessions. Significant overall benefits were found in EI compared to SC using the binomial test. Secondarily, over time, WLH in the EI reported significantly fewer depressive symptoms and fewer underweight infants than WLH in the SC condition. EI WLH were significantly more likely to use one feeding method for six months and exclusively breastfeed their infants for at least 6 months. WLH benefit by support from HIV-positive Peer Mentors, even though EI participation was partial, with incomplete follow-up rates from 6–12 months."


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