A study of South African mothers who breast-fed their newborns has found that HIV-positive mothers lost weight and fat between eight and 24 weeks after giving birth, while HIV-negative mothers gained weight. The research was published in the December 1 edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.
Although the seronegative and seropositive mothers had similar weight and height at eight weeks after they gave birth, afterward 70% of the HIV-positive mothers lost weight, compared to 47% of the HIV-negative mothers. The weight loss was mostly fat mass, though, and not lean body mass.
Similar research has also detected weight loss in breast-feeding mothers in other African nations, but the researchers note that 'there is no consistent pattern of weight change during lactation in developing countries' and recommend further study.