Breast feeding patterns of HIV positive mothers in the context of mother to child transmission in Kwazulu-Natal.
The focus of this thesis is to look at breastfeeding patterns in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa in relation to HIV infected women, who as mothers may, transmit the HIV virus to their child. It seeks to understand in depth the social context of HIV and AIDS in the time of the AIDS pandemic looking at gender culture; powerlessness of women in households in society. These dynamics occurring at such a crucial time and moment of this spiral explosive epidemic reflects a more broader concerted effort to understand and find solutions. This study emerges from a larger research project conducted under the auspices of the Medical Research Council, which was examining the transmission rates of HIV infection in babies born to HIV positive woman for a period of six months, on breastfeeding having given these women nevirapine as well. The study was HIVNET 023, which looked at the use of NVP that was given to breastfed infants in order to reduce MTCT of HIV, Phase 1,11 Study. This work was conducted from 2000 and completed in 2001. This thesis seeks to further explore challenges experienced by these breastfeeding HIV positive women in the public domain (i.e. in the clinics, hospitals as well as in communities), and how these challenges impinge in their daily lives as women. Issues of gender inequality, the social context of culture in the midst of a health crisis, and suggestions for change in the context of clinical practice, make up the bulk of the thesis argument.