How Do People Get Hiv
Most young children who have HIV got it before they were born or shortly after birth.
Older people can get HIV through:
- sharing needles for injecting drugs or tattooing
- getting stuck with a needle with an infected persons blood on it
HIV is NOT spread through:
- pee, poop, spit, throw-up, or sweat
- coughing or sneezing
- sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses
What Support Is Available While I’m Pregnant
Your healthcare team will play a key role in helping you stay well while you are pregnant, and in preventing your baby from being infected with HIV.
There are many HIV support agencies which can provide information, advice and assistance to you at any point. To find out whats available near you use the NHS Choices website.
You could also talk to one of the professionals you’re currently receiving HIV services from. That might be someone at your HIV clinic , a social worker, or an advice worker.
Talking to other women living with HIV who have had a baby can help you make decisions about pregnancy, birth and looking after your babys health.
You can also talk to our online counsellor.
Other Treatments While Pregnant
Some drugs and vaccines for the treatment and prevention of certain conditions that are common in HIV positive women are safe to use in pregnancy, while others are not. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of these treatments to you and the fetus.
It is safe to use preventative medication for Pneumocystis pneumonia , Mycobacteriumavium complex and tuberculosis . You may also take treatment for active tuberculosis when you are pregnant. As well, it appears to be relatively safe to take acyclovir to prevent or treat herpes outbreaks, though you should talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of this drug.
Methadone is safe to use during your pregnancy, but be aware that your baby may be dependent on methadone and will need to be weaned off. If you are on methadone and become pregnant, you should not stop taking methadone without first speaking with your doctor.
Some HIV positive women use medicinal marijuana. There is no evidence that marijuana causes birth defects, however, smoking of any kind is not recommended during pregnancy. The risks and benefits of smoking marijuana should be weighed carefully.
You should avoid drugs like fluconazole, itraconazole and ketoconazole, which are used to stop candidiasis and other fungal infections. Other medications you may be taking for depression, pain, diabetes or other conditions might not be safe during pregnancy. Speak to your doctor and pharmacist about which drugs are safe for you and the fetus.
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Talking About Sex Is Awkward
Ever since I could remember, I knew Id be super open with my future children about sex. But then I had kids and that went straight out the window.
Talking about sex with your kids is awkward. Its the part of yourself that you keep hidden as a mother. When it comes to their bodies, you sort of hope they figure it out on their own. Now, I was faced with explaining how I contracted HIV.
For my girls, I shared that I got HIV through sex with a former boyfriend and left it at that. My son was aware that it came from that partner, but I chose to keep the how vague. Over the last four years, hes heard the gamut about HIV transmission because of my advocacy and has certainly put two and two together.
Hiv And Getting Pregnant
If you are HIV-positive and become pregnant, or would like to have a baby, it is strongly recommended that you talk to specialists.
If you live in Victoria, The Victorian HIV Service at the Alfred Hospital and the Chronic Viral Illness Clinic at the Royal Womens Hospital can provide you with more information.
At the Chronic Viral Illness Clinic at the Royal Womens Hospital you can discuss your options with doctors who specialise in HIV and reproductive health.
This clinic specialises in helping serodiscordant couples to conceive safely.
Timing of sex to coincide with ovulation can be discussed with a healthcare provider to increase your chances of getting pregnant while reducing the risk of passing on the virus.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Hiv And Aids
When first infected with HIV, a person may have:
- increased number of infections
- infections that are more severe than is typical
Without treatment, HIV can lead to a very weakened immune system and progress to AIDS. Illnesses that happen in AIDS are called “AIDS-defining conditions.”
AIDS-defining conditions include:
Getting Pregnant When Both Parents Have Hiv
Seroconcordant couples , can have an HIV-negative child. If both partners are on treatment, the risk of either partner transmitting HIV to their baby is almost zero.
If you are a seroconcordant couple and you are thinking of becoming pregnant it is important to speak with an obstetrician and an HIV specialist to minimise the risk of transmitting HIV to your baby.
Will My Baby Need To Be Treated
After your baby’s born, they’ll be given HIV medication, usually for 4 weeks, to stop them developing HIV.
Your baby will be tested for HIV within 48 hours of birth. They’ll usually be tested again at 6 and 12 weeks. A final test is also needed when your baby is 18 months old.
Reducing Transmission Risk To Your Newborn
After your baby is born, they will usually be given antiretroviral medicines for about 4 to 6 weeks. This will help to prevent your baby from getting infected with HIV.
Also, on the day of birth, your baby is likely to be tested to find out if they developed HIV during pregnancy. Your baby will generally be tested again at 6 and 12 weeks.
If you have any questions about your risk of infecting your baby, talk to your doctor or HIV specialist.
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What Can I Do To Lower My Risk Of Passing Hiv To My Baby
Thanks to more HIV testing and new medicines, the number of children infected with HIV during pregnancy, labor and childbirth, and breastfeeding has decreased by 90% since the mid-1990s.
The steps below can lower the risk of giving HIV to your baby:
Tell your doctor you want to get pregnant. Your doctor can help you decide if you need to change your treatments to lower your viral load, to help you get pregnant without passing HIV to your partner, and to prevent you from passing the virus to your baby. He or she will also help you get as healthy as possible before you get pregnant to improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby. Don’t stop using condoms for STI prevention and another method of birth control for pregnancy prevention until your doctor says you are healthy enough to start trying.
Get prenatal care. Prenatal care is the care you receive from your doctor while you are pregnant. You need to work closely with your doctor throughout your pregnancy to monitor your treatment, your health, and your baby’s health.
Start HIV treatment. You can start treatment before pregnancy to lower the risk of passing HIV to your baby. If you are already on treatment, do not stop, but do see your doctor right away. Some HIV drugs should not be used while you’re pregnant. For other drugs, you may need a different dosage.
If I Am Hiv Positive And Pregnant Should I Deliver The Baby By Caesarean Section
If you are not taking any medicine for HIV or if you are just taking zidovudine, it is better for your baby to be delivered by caesarean section rather than vaginally. Otherwise, the risk of your baby being infected with HIV is twice as great if you deliver vaginally.
If you are taking a combination of drugs and the amount of virus circulating in your blood is undetectable, there seems to be no clear advantage for a caesarean delivery compared with a vaginal delivery. You should talk to your doctor, who can look at your particular situation and give you appropriate advice for your situation.
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Hiv Life Expectancy: How Long Can You Live With Hiv Or Aids
The most frequently asked question for HIV-positive patients is how long can you live with HIV? Fortunately, the answer is far more promising than it was 20 years ago. Join Flo as we discuss how advancements in medical technology have altered the prognosis for those living with HIV or AIDS.
A national database containing statistics from 25 states shows that the average HIV life expectancy has more than doubled between 1996 and 2005. The bump from 10.5 to 22.5 years after diagnosis can be attributed to vast improvements in drug therapy and related approaches. However, experts still say this is only an average, and plenty of other circumstances must be taken into account regarding HIV life expectancy.
How Can You Get Hiv
HIV is found in the following bodily fluids of someone living with the virus:
- vaginal fluids
For you to get HIV, these bodily fluids need to get into your blood through a mucous membrane , via shared injecting equipment, or through broken skin .
There is not enough HIV virus in other bodily fluids, like saliva, sweat or urine, to transmit it from one person to another.
Someone living with HIV who has an undetectable viral load, meaning effective treatment has lowered the amount of virus in their blood to levels where it cannot be detected by a normal blood test, cannot pass on HIV.
A person living with HIV with a detectable viral load can pass the virus to others whether they have symptoms or not.
HIV is most infectious in the first few weeks after infection. At this time many people are unaware of their status.
The main ways you can get HIV are:
Should I Deliver My Baby By Caesarean Section
The best way to deliver your baby depends on how much of the virus is in your blood at the time of delivery. Your doctor can give you advice on what is right for you. If your viral load is high, your doctor will likely recommend a Caesarean section to prevent your baby from getting HIV during labour. If your viral load is low, your doctor will probably recommend a vaginal delivery unless there is some other reason why you need a Caesarean section.
If I Take Antiretroviral Drugs During Pregnancy Will That Hurt My Baby
Not very many pregnant women have taken these drugs and the babies born to these women are still very young. To date, children exposed to these drugs during pregnancy havent had major problems. Its still too early to say for sure that there will not be problems. If you have questions about taking HIV drugs during pregnancy, you should call this toll-free number: 1-888-246-5840.
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How Do You Get Hiv
HIV is carried in semen , vaginal fluids, anal mucus, blood, and breast milk. The virus gets in your body through cuts or sores in your skin, and through mucous membranes . You can get HIV from:
having vaginal or anal sex
sharing needles or syringes for shooting drugs, piercings, tattoos, etc.
getting stuck with a needle that has HIV-infected blood on it
getting HIV-infected blood, semen , or vaginal fluids into open cuts or sores on your body
HIV is usually spread through having unprotected sex. Using condoms and/or dental dams every time you have sex and not sharing needles can help protect you and your partners from HIV. If you do have HIV, treatment can lower or even stop the chances of spreading the virus to other people during sex. If you dont have HIV, theres also a daily medicine called PrEP that can protect you from HIV.
HIV can also be passed to babies during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. A pregnant woman with HIV can take medicine to greatly reduce the chance that her baby will get HIV.
HIV isnt spread through saliva , so you CANT get HIV from kissing, sharing food or drinks, or using the same fork or spoon. HIV is also not spread through hugging, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing. And you cant get HIV from a toilet seat.
I’m Pregnant Will My Baby Have Hiv
If you just found out you are pregnant, see your doctor right away. Find out what you can do to take care of yourself and to give your baby a healthy start to life.
With your doctor’s help, you can decide on the best treatment for you and your baby before, during, and after the pregnancy. You should also before and during your pregnancy to help you and your baby stay healthy.
Just because you have HIV doesn’t mean your child will get HIV. In the United States, before effective treatment was available, about 25% of pregnant mothers with HIV passed the virus to their babies. Today, if you take HIV treatment and have an undetectable viral load, your risk of passing HIV to your baby is less than 1%.
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More Help And Support
- Positively UK is a charity providing support to people living with HIV and can offer you friendly peer support groups and workshops.
- Body and Soul is based in London and provide a range of support to families and children including groups for tots, children and teens.
- i-base pregnancy guide is up-to-date and exhaustive .
- If you live in London, Positive Parenting and Children might be able to help you.
- CHIVA, the Children’s HIV Association has lots of resources for parents and families affected by HIV.
Viral Suppression Of Partner Living With Hiv
One of the best things that the male partner living with HIV can do is to take HIV drugs regularly and maintain an undetectable viral load even when he has no symptoms and a relatively healthy immune system.
Recent studies of serodifferent or serodiscordant couples, both gay and heterosexual , showed that taking HIV drugs and having an undetectable viral load reduces to zero the risk that a partner living with HIV will sexually transmit HIV to a partner who is not living with HIV. Please see our fact sheet on Undetectable Equals Untransmittable for more information on this exciting development.
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Reducing Transmission Risk During Pregnancy
If you have HIV, its possible for you to have a healthy pregnancy and it is likely your baby will be born healthy and HIV negative. With effective interventions, the risk of transmission is very low.
You can reduce the risk of transmission by:
Women who have HIV while pregnant and take antiretroviral medicines significantly reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to their baby.
If you are diagnosed with HIV during pregnancy, its important you talk to your doctor immediately about how to reduce the risk of your baby getting HIV. Emergency treatment can be started even if you find out late in pregnancy that youre HIV positive.
If Both Partners Have Hiv
Even if both partners have HIV, it is important that both have an undetectable viral load to prevent reinfection. Reinfection can lead to transmitted resistance, in which a drug-resistant strain of HIV is passed to a partner, potentially undermining the effectiveness of the drugs they are taking.
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Effective Treatments Can Reduce Hiv Transmission
When someone with HIV is on antiretroviral treatment and consistently has very low levels of virus they are not infectious and cannot sexually transmit the virus.
This may be true for sexual transmission during pregnancy, but researchers are still gathering more evidence before they can be confident it is true for transmission during pregnancy, labour and delivery, and during breastfeeding.
As long as the HIV-positive partner maintains a stable undetectable viral load and these medications are taken strictly as prescribed, HIV transmission to a negative partner is not possible.
Speak to your treating doctor if you would like to explore these newer prevention drugs.
Calculating Life Expectancy With Hiv Or Aids
Recent research shows that a young person with HIV or AIDS could potentially live almost as long as anyone else in the general population. But this is only the case if they have routine access to health care and respond well to modern antiretroviral treatments . So a 20-year-old who starts on ARTs today, for example, might eventually live to be 67.
Keep in mind though, since there is no known cure, HIV life expectancy varies greatly from one individual to the next based on many things. This includes early detection plus, gender and lifestyle choices such as alcohol, tobacco, or drug use.
Over the past two decades, HIV life expectancy has drastically risen. What was once considered a terminal illness is now a medically manageable condition at any age. Those who abuse intravenous drugs or possess a preexisting immune disorder, however, do not fare as well.
In light of huge disparities in access to health care and ARTs, the CDC regularly publishes reports on obstacles to HIV and AIDS treatment. By 2016, it was estimated that 1.1 million people in the U.S., aged 13 or older, had HIV .
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