Prevalence of HIV-1 DNA and p24 antigen in breast milk and correlation with maternal factors

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr (1988). 1994 Jan;7(1):68-73.


Breast milk specimens from human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-seropositive and HIV-1-seronegative women were examined for the presence of HIV-1 p24 antigen by the antigen capture method and for viral DNA using the polymerase chain reaction. HIV-1 DNA was present in 70% of milk specimens collected from 47 HIV-seropositive women 0-4 days after delivery and in approximately 50% of specimens collected 6 and 12 months postpartum. p24 antigen, present in 24% of milk specimens collected from 37 seropositive women within the first 4 days postpartum, was not detected in any of the subsequent specimens. The presence of HIV-1 DNA or p24 antigen in milk was not significantly associated with maternal CD4 lymphocyte count, beta 2-microglobulin level, or fulfillment of the AIDS clinical case definition. Although the correlation of either HIV-1 proviral DNA or p24 antigen with the presence of infectious virus is not known, these data indicate the need for additional studies examining the role of breastfeeding in maternal-infant transmission of HIV-1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • DNA, Viral / analysis*
  • Female
  • HIV Core Protein p24 / analysis*
  • HIV Core Protein p24 / blood
  • HIV Infections / microbiology
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • HIV Seropositivity / blood
  • HIV Seropositivity / microbiology
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Milk, Human / immunology
  • Milk, Human / microbiology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Postpartum Period
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / analysis


  • DNA, Viral
  • HIV Core Protein p24
  • beta 2-Microglobulin