The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network of individuals
& organisations concerned with the protection, promotion & support of breastfeeding worldwide.
WABA action is based on the Innocenti Declaration, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future and the
Global Strategy for Infant & Young Child Feeding. WABA is in consultative status with UNICEF & an NGO
in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).
Breastfeeding and HIV
Protecting Babies, Empowering Mothers
7. Heat-treated breastmilk
"Data suggest that Flash-heat, a simple home pasteurization method, is often an acceptable infant feeding option for HIV positive mothers in developing countries where access to safe infant formula is not a realistic choice. This method has been shown to inactivate HIV, whether cell-free or cell bound, while maintaining the antimicrobial, immunological and nutritional properties unique to breast milk.

Flash-heated breastmilk can be utilized for "replacement feeding". It is free from active HIV, safe, nutritious, affordable, available, and protective, and could be particularly valuable during times of high risk, such as during episodes of mastitis or infant oral thrush. Flash heating should be utilized during the process of stopping breastfeeding when risk of transmission appears to be greatly increased.

Preliminary data from an ongoing feasibility study in Tanzania suggest that roughly one third of mothers who are told about Flash-heat as an option at six months attempt it and are able to correctly perform the method for a median of 4 weeks. In South Africa one mother successfully Flash-heated her breast milk for 12 months, from the time the infant was six to eighteen months, and the infant subsequently tested negative for HIV.

The major obstacle to this method seems to be stigma and the lack of disclosure. It does however hold promise as a safe and affordable option for many HIV positive mothers in developing countries."

Flash-heat Inactivation of HIV-1 in Breast Milk

Research on flash-heating of expressed breastmilk using ordinary household implements
© Kiersten Israel Ballard

World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action
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