Background: Human milk banking has been promoted to provide donated breast milk for
at-risk children whose mothers cannot breastfeed them but this effort was hindered by the advent of
Objective: To estimate the seroprevalence of HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B in the blood of human
milk donors registered in a major maternity hospital in the northern region of the Santa Catarina
Methods: A retrospective study included serological tests for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B screening
of milk donor candidates in the 2005-2015 period. The 95% confidence intervals were calculated
using the Poisson distribution.
Results: For HIV, the prevalence per 100.000 pregnant women was 155, 170 and zero over the three
periods analyzed (2005-2009, 2010-2012 and 2013-2015), respectively. Syphilis prevalence per
100,000 pregnant women was 509, 460 and 1749 in the three periods analyzed. For the HBsAg
marker of recent hepatitis B infection, the prevalence on the same scale was 254, 231 and 299, respectively,
while the anti-HBc prevalence, a marker of lifetime risk for hepatitis B infection, was
7339 in the 2010-2012 period and 3874 in the 2013-2015 period.
Conclusion: High prevalence of HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B was found for the 2005-2015 period
among breastfeeding mothers who offered to donate their exceeding milk to a human milk bank in
Brazil. Despite apparent elimination of the HIV by the end of the period, the decline was not statistically
significant. There was no significant change in the acute hepatitis B prevalence over time but
the increased syphilis prevalence in the most recent period was statistically significant.