To decipher the mechanisms involved in oral transmission of human immunodeficiency virus/simian immunodeficiency virus (HIV/SIV) through breast-feeding, we have developed an animal model using SIV-infected lactating rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and their infants. Five of eight macaque infants became infected during a 10-month study course after SIV inoculation of lactating dams. In a second study, three of four chronically infected female macaques transmitted virus to their infants through breast-feeding within 4 months of birth. Transmission of virus to infants did not correlate with viral loads in either milk or plasma. Infants were infected with homogeneous virus populations, while milk samples near the time of transmission were more diverse. These studies suggest that specific viral phenotypes are selectively transmitted through breast-feeding.