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CDC: Many HIV-Exposed Children Get Pre-Chewed Food

Third of caregivers of HIV-exposed children aged ≥6 months say the children got premasticated food

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Approximately one-third of caregivers of HIV-exposed children aged 6 months or older provide the children with premasticated food from themselves or someone else, with younger and black caregivers reporting premastication more frequently than older and non-black caregivers, according to a report in the March 11 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC conducted a cross-sectional survey at nine pediatric HIV clinics in the United States between December 2009 and February 2010 to assess the prevalence of premastication among caregivers of perinatally HIV-exposed children, which included HIV-uninfected and HIV-infected children born to an HIV-infected mother.

The data revealed that, among primary caregivers of children aged ≥6 months, 48 of 154 (31 percent) reported that the children received premasticated food from themselves or someone else. Compared to 20 percent of non-black caregivers, approximately 37 percent of black caregivers reported premastication (prevalence ratio, 1.8). The data also revealed that premastication decreased with caregiver age. Premastication was used to feed children aged 1 to 36 months.

"Public health officials and health care providers should educate the public about the risk for disease transmission via premastication and advise HIV-infected caregivers against the practice," the authors write.

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