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CENTRAL AFRICAN JOURNAL OF MEDICINE. 1992 Jul; 38(7):314-5.Participants at a 1992 WHO/UNICEF consultation meeting on HIV transmission and breast feeding weigh the risk of death from AIDS with the risk of death from other causes. Breast feeding reduces the risk of death from diarrhea, pneumonia, and other infections. Artificial or inappropriate feeding contributes the most to the more than 3 million annual childhood deaths from diarrhea. The rising prevalence of HIV infection among women worldwide results in more and more cases of HIV-infected newborns. About 33% of infants born to HIV-infected. Some HIV transmission occurs through breast feeding, but breast feeding does not transmit HIV to most infants HIV-infected mothers. Participants recommend that, in areas where infectious diseases and malnutrition are the leading causes of death and infant mortality is high, health workers should advise all pregnant women, regardless of their HIV status, to breast feed. The infant's risk of HIV infection via breast milk tends to be lower than its risk of death from other causes and from not being breast fed. HIV-infected women who do have access to alternative feeding should talk to their health care providers to learn how to feed their infants safely. In areas where the leading cause of death is not infectious disease and infant mortality is low, participants recommend that health workers advise HIV-infected pregnant women to use a safe feeding alternative, e.g., bottle feeding. Yet, the women and their providers should not be influenced by commercial pressures to choose an alternative feeding method. Health care services in these areas should provide voluntary and confidential HIV testing and counseling. Participants stress the need to prevent women from becoming HIV-infected by providing them information about AIDS and how to protect themselves, increasing their participation in decision-making in sexual relationships, and improving their status in society.