The HIV pandemic has affected millions of people around the world both medically and socially, since there is a stigma associated with this disease. Common methods of transmission include sexual intercourse and sharing needles, but there are other lesser known methods through which people can contract this disease. One such way is mother-to-child transmission (MTCT), in which a mother could transmit the virus to her child either during pregnancy, childbirth, or through breastfeeding. This paper focuses on the role of breastfeeding in the transmission of HIV from mother to child. Many studies have investigated how breastfeeding results in the transmission of the virus, and effective common treatment methods have been established. However, the issue of MTCT of HIV still exists even though it can easily be eradicated with the proper techniques. This suggests that there are still factors that contribute to HIV transmission from mother to child that have yet to be eliminated. Thus, this paper reviews the breastfeeding rates and breastfeeding practices of three different countries: South Africa, India, and the United Kingdom. This paper analyzes epidemiological data, studies from medical journals, and studies from anthropology journals to determine what social influences surround breastfeeding practices in each of these countries to see how these may contribute to MTCT of HIV via breastfeeding. While there were no apparent trends between child HIV prevalence rates and breastfeeding rates in these countries, there were some social and cultural factors that were similar across all three nations. This information may be useful in creating more effective treatment plans that are conducive to the social environments in these countries.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Borgon, Robert


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Medicine


Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences

Degree Program

Biomedical Sciences


Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date

May 2017