Modeling Breastmilk Infectivity in HIV-1 Infected Mothers


Published in Biometrics, Vol. 58, No. 4, December 2002.


Estimation of breastmilk infectivity in HIV-1 infected mothers is difficult because transmission can occur while the fetus is in-utero, during delivery, or through breastfeeding. Since transmission can only be detected through periodic testing, however, it may be impossible to determine the actual mode of transmission in any individual child. In this paper we develop a model to estimate breastmilk infectivity as well as the probabilities of in-utero and intrapartum transmission. In addition, the model allows separate estimation of early and late breastmilk infectivity and individual variation in maternal infectivity. Methods for hypothesis testing of binary risk factors and a method for assessing goodness of fit are also described. Data from a randomized trial of breastfeeding versus formula feeding among HIV-1 infected mothers in Nairobi, Kenya are used to illustrate the methods.

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