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Pre-chewed Food Could Transmit HIV
Date:7/21/2009

First three cases of likely HIV transmission to infants via pre-chewed food suggest cautioning HIV-positive caregivers against pre-chewing food; also a need for more data

MEMPHIS, Tenn., July 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Researchers have uncovered the first cases in which HIV almost certainly was transmitted from mothers or other caregivers to children through pre-chewed food. The source of HIV in the pre-chewed food was most likely the infected blood in the saliva of the people who pre-chewed the food before giving it to the children. The researchers said their findings suggest that HIV-infected mothers or other caregivers should be warned against giving infants pre-chewed food and directed toward safer feeding options.

The cases indicate that physicians and clinics should routinely include questions about pre-chewing food in their health screening of infant caregivers who have HIV or are suspected of the infection. Also, possible cases of HIV transmission through pre-chewed food should be reported to public health agencies to help increase understanding of the prevalence of such transmission.

Led by Aditya Gaur, M.D., of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, with colleagues from St. Jude (Marion Donohoe, CPNP), the University of Miami (Charles Mitchell, M.D., and Delia Rivera, M.D.) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Kenneth Dominguez, M.D., Marcia Kalish, Ph.D., and John Brooks, M.D.), the researchers published their findings in the August 2009 issue of the journal Pediatrics. Gaur is an assistant member of the St. Jude Infectious Diseases department.

Giving infants pre-chewed food has been reported to transmit infections such as streptococcus and the hepatitis B virus, Gaur said. However, until these cases there was no evidence that the blood-borne HIV could be simi
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SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
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