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The Breast Defense

The Breast Defense


Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England report that they've developed a nipple shield that disinfects milk as it leaves a woman's breast'including milk with HIV. Nipple shields are already commonly used by breast-feeding women, mostly to protect the mother from being bitten by her breast-feeding infant. The researchers found that a nipple shield containing small nontoxic amounts of the chemical sodium dodecyl sulphate can kill HIV that is in breast milk, dramatically lowering the infection risks for the breast-feeding infant. The most common way for HIV-positive women to rid their breast milk of HIV is to heat the milk before providing it to their babies. But resources to heat breast milk are largely unavailable in developing nations, and women there tend to simply hope for the best when they breast-feed their infants. The researchers say disinfecting nipple shields would be a cheap and easy HIV prevention tool for these women. They also say the nipple shields could be used to deliver medicine or micronutrient supplements to infants while breast-feeding. Tests for these applications are planned.

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