You Are Not Taking Anti
You should be offered treatment to stop you passing on the virus to your baby. The usual treatment is HAART, as described above. Treatment with a single anti-retroviral drug may be considered if your viral load is less than 10,000, your CD4 count is more than 350 and you are prepared to have a caesarean section.
Your doctor will usually recommend that you start the treatment between 14 and 24 weeks of your pregnancy and continue until your baby is born.
Where Can You Get Tested For Hiv
You can get an HIV test from:
- Your health care provider. As part of your prenatal care , your provider tests your blood for infections, like HIV and other STIs, that can affect your pregnancy.
- Clinics, AIDS services organizations, substance abuse programs and community health centers
- Some pharmacies
To find a testing site near you:
- Text your ZIP code to KNOW IT .
- Contact your local health department for more information.
You also can test yourself for HIV. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two HIV tests you can do on your own:
The companies that make home HIV tests can connect you with counselors who can answer questions about follow-up testing or treatment. See the information that comes with your home test to find out how to contact a counselor.
How Can We Conceive If One Of Us Is Hiv Negative And One Is Living With Hiv
When a person living with HIV has an undetectable viral load, there is no risk of HIV transmission during sex. Providing the partner living with HIV has an undetectable viral load and neither of you have any sexually transmitted infections , sex without a condom is fine.
If you or your partner have a detectable viral load, it is important to discuss conception options that reduce or remove risk of transmission during sex to you/your partner and baby. Before deciding not to use condoms, get advice from your HIV healthcare team so that they can confirm what would work best for you. This may include the HIV-negative partner taking PrEP. PrEP reduces HIV transmission and is safe to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Everyone planning a pregnancy whether or not they have HIV is advised to take a daily folic acid supplement whilst trying to conceive and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Folic acid helps cells in the body to develop. It is difficult to get enough through diet alone.
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What If My Baby Is Infected
If any of the tests come back positive, another test is performed as soon as possible to confirm whether your baby is infected with HIV. If your baby is infected, treatment with antiretroviral drugs should start and continue indefinitely. These drugs may be different from the drugs given in the first 4 to 6 weeks. Treatment is effective, safe, and will help keep your baby healthy.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know
If you are HIV positive, you should get contraceptive advice from the specialist team after you have had your baby.
Women with HIV infection are recommended to have yearly cervical smears.
Content used with permission from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website: HIV and pregnancy. Copyright for this leaflet is with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
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Deterrence And Patient Education
Patients reasons for opting out of HIV testing during their initial prenatal visit should be explored. Testing should again be offered in the third trimester to women who opt out in the first trimester or those included in high-risk groups according to the CDC
HIV positive women must be counseled about the need to achieve sustained viral suppression before conception and the importance of ART adherence in minimizing both vertical and secondary sexual transmission of the virus to their partners. They should also be counseled against unsafe sexual practices, alcohol and tobacco use, and illicit drug abuse.
Patients must be educated about the various available methods of contraception, the availability of PrEP for their HIV-negative partners, the need to avoid breastfeeding, and how to alleviate painful breast engorgement in the absence of lactation.
Managing Illness As A Parent
Although medical advances now allow people with HIV to live full, healthy lives, you may have times where you or your partner is unwell or needs medical care.
As with any longer-term illness, this can impact on your ability to earn an income, manage a household or raise children.
Living with chronic illness can be a challenge and sometimes families need extra support. Trying to sort things out on your own can make life seem overwhelming. Dont be afraid to ask for help from expert organisations that support people with HIV.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
Signs of a condition are things someone else can see or know about you, like you have a rash or youre coughing. Symptoms are things you feel yourself that others cant see, like having a sore throat or feeling dizzy. The signs and symptoms of HIV vary depending on your health and the stage of your infection. Signs and symptoms may last for a few days to several weeks. Some people with HIV dont have signs or symptoms for 10 years or more.
If you think you may have HIV, even if you dont have signs or symptoms, tell your provider. Getting tested and treated can help you stay healthier longer and reduce your chances of passing the infection to others.
HIV has three stages of infection that have different signs and symptoms:Stage 1: Acute infection. This is the first 6 months of infection. About 4 to 9 in 10 people with HIV have signs or symptoms of flu within 2 to 4 weeks after infection. During this stage, you have a large amount of HIV in your blood and are very contagious. Flu-like signs and symptoms of acute HIV infection may include:
- Fever, chills or sweating at night
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers or sore throat
Stage 3: AIDS. People with AIDS have extremely weak immune systems and get more and more severe illnesses . You have AIDS when your CD4 count drops below 200 cells/millimeter or if you develops certain OIs. If you have AIDS, you can have a high viral load and easily spread HIV to others. Signs and symptoms of AIDS include:
Changes in your body:
How Can I Cope With The Stress Of Being Hiv Positive And Pregnant
Being pregnant can be stressful under the best of circumstances. But being pregnant when you have a high-risk condition such as HIV can make it even more so, especially if you’ve just been diagnosed.
Although it can be difficult, focusing on your health right now is the best way to protect your baby from HIV. And it will help you stay well enough to care for your baby as they grow up.
Pay attention to your mental health as well. Let your caregiver know if you’re feeling overly anxious or depressed so you can get a referral to a mental health professional, an HIV support group, or both.
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Frequently Asked Questionsexpand All
You and your obstetrician-gynecologist should discuss things you can do to reduce the risk of passing HIV to your baby. They include the following:
Take a combination of anti-HIV drugs during your pregnancy as prescribed.
Have your baby by cesarean birth if lab tests show that your level of HIV is high.
Take anti-HIV drugs during labor and delivery as needed.
Give anti-HIV drugs to your baby after birth.
Do not breastfeed.
Treatment during pregnancy has two goals: 1) to protect your own health, and 2) to help prevent passing HIV to your fetus. Many combinations of drugs are used to manage HIV infection. This is called a “drug regimen.” Anti-HIV drugs decrease the amount of HIV in the body.
Drugs used to treat HIV infection may cause side effects. Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, headaches, and muscle aches. Less common side effects include anemia, liver damage, and bone problems such as osteoporosis. But not taking medication greatly increases the chances of passing the virus to your fetus.
Your viral load is the amount of HIV that you have in your body.
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Will My Baby Need To Be Treated
After your baby’s born, they’ll be given HIV medication, usually for about 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. If you choose to breastfeed, your baby will be tested more often.
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How Do I Reduce The Transmission Risk To My Newborn Baby
After your baby is born, they will usually be given ARV medicines as a small amount of syrup twice a day for about 2 to 4 weeks. This medicine is given as an added precaution to protect your baby just in case HIV was transmitted during pregnancy or during birth.
On the day your baby is born, they will be tested to find out if they developed HIV during pregnancy. Your baby will generally be tested again at 6 weeks, 3 months, 12 months and at 18 months.
The Risk To Your Baby
If you have HIV, you can pass it to your baby during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and breastfeeding if your infection is not under complete control. Nearly all children under the age of 13 with HIV were infected by their mother. This happens in the womb, or as they passed through the birth canal during labor. The virus can also be passed through breastmilk.
An untreated pregnant woman with HIV has a 1 in 4 chance that her baby will get the virus. But with early diagnosis and treatment with antiretroviral medicines, you can reduce this risk.
Experts advise that almost all people with HIV be treated for the infection. If you have HIV and are planning to become pregnant, get treated for your HIV as soon as possible. Take your medicines every day as directed. Also make sure your viral load is “undetectable” before and throughout pregnancy.
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Will My Baby Need Treatment After Delivery
A 1994 study by the National Institutes of Health found that giving ZDV to an HIV-positive pregnant woman during her pregnancy and to her baby decreased the risk of passing the infection on to the baby by 66%. The baby should be treated with ZDV for the first six weeks of life. Eight percent of babies of women treated with ZDV became infected, compared with 25 percent of babies of untreated women.No significant side effects of the drug have been observed other than mild anemia in some infants that cleared up when the drug was stopped. Follow-up studies show that the HIV-negative treated babies continued to develop normally.
What Happens If A Pregnant Woman Is Hiv Positive
If you’re HIV positive and pregnant, it’s important to get treatment. The goal of HAART is to reduce your viral load to an undetectable level. This protects your health and makes it less likely that HIV will spread to your baby. It can also reduce the chances of infecting your partner if they are HIV negative.
If you’re already on HAART when you discover you’re pregnant, don’t stop taking medication. A lapse in treatment may cause the virus to become more resistant. Instead, consult your healthcare provider immediately.
In the past, HAART was usually only recommended once the viral load and CD4 count suggested that the immune system was compromised. Now the recommendation is to begin HAART as soon as possible after diagnosis. So if you haven’t already started it, or if you’ve just been diagnosed, your provider will likely recommend that you begin right away.
It’s possible to have an undetectable viral load between three and six months after starting HAART. Your care provider will check your viral load at least every month during your pregnancy until it’s undetectable. After that, you’ll be checked once every three months.
Side effects of HIV drugs can include:
- Bone problems such as osteoporosis
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Understanding A Positive Result
What does a positive HIV result mean?
If you use any type of antibody test and have a positive result, you will need a follow-up test to confirm your results.
- If you test in a community program or take an HIV self-test and its positive, you should go to a health care provider for follow-up testing.
- If you test in a health care setting or a lab and its positive, the lab will conduct the follow-up testing, usually on the same blood sample as the first test.
If the follow-up test is also positive, it means you have HIV.
What should I do if I just got diagnosed with HIV?
Receiving an HIV diagnosis can be life changing. You may feel many emotionssadness, hopelessness, or anger. Allied health care providers and social service providers can help you work through the early stages of your diagnosis. They can also help you find HIV care and treatment that will help you live a long, healthy life.
- HIV treatment is recommended for all people with HIV, regardless of how long theyve had the virus or how healthy they are.
- HIV treatment can make the amount of HIV in the blood so low that a test cant detect it . Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load is the best way to stay healthy and protect others.
Telling Health Professionals About Your Hiv Status
It is important to tell your doctor, obstetrician or midwife about your HIV status as early as you can .
Telling your health team, helps to talk through any concerns you may have and ensure you receive treatment before that suits your needs, and is safe throughout pregnancy and after your baby is born.
Also, if your medical team knows about your HIV status, they can take steps to minimise the risk of accidental transmission during any medical procedures.
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Special Care During Pregnancy And Childbirth
If you have HIV, youll need extra healthcare during pregnancy. This will include antiretroviral medicines, possibly vaccines, and other preventive treatments. Youll need to work with a healthcare provider whos trained in high-risk pregnancy, infectious disease, or HIV.
Youll need regular blood tests to check the amount of HIV in your body. Your HIV should be completely controlled, or “undetectable.” This will help minimize the risk of your baby picking up HIV.
Vaginal birth can expose a baby to the HIV virus, particularly if your HIV is detectable. If that is the case, talk with your healthcare provider about whether you should have a C-section birth. A C-section helps reduce the risk of spreading the virus to your baby if your virus is not completely under control with medicines.
What Can I Do Before Getting Pregnant To Lower My Risk Of Passing Hiv To My Baby
If you plan to become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away. Your doctor can talk with you about how HIV can affect your health during pregnancy and your unborn baby’s health. Your doctor can work with you to prepare for a healthy pregnancy before you start trying to become pregnant.
Everyone living with HIV should take HIV medicines to stay healthy. If you are thinking about becoming pregnant and are not taking HIV treatment, it is important that you begin, because this will lower your chances of passing the virus to your baby when you become pregnant.
There are ways for you to get pregnant that will limit your partner’s risk of HIV infection. You can ask your doctor about ways to get pregnant and still protect your partner.
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How Is The Risk Of Transmission Reduced During Pregnancy
If you have HIV and are taking ARV medications and have an undetectable viral load, its possible for you to have a healthy pregnancy and for your baby to be born healthy and HIV negative.
To ensure you have a healthy pregnancy and your baby is born HIV negative, you need to:
- take ARV medicines during your pregnancy to achieve an undetectable viral load
- attend all your appointments with your HIV specialist doctor who will coordinate your regular blood tests
- attend all your appointments with your infectious diseases specialist doctor who specialises in the care of women living with HIV and pregnancy or an obstetrician who may also specialise in HIV and pregnancy
Like all women who are pregnant, to ensure your health and the health of your unborn your baby, it is important that you eat a healthy diet, live a stress-free lifestyle, get plenty of rest and regular exercise.
If you are diagnosed with HIV during pregnancy, its important you talk to your doctor immediately so you can begin taking ARV medications to reduce the risk of your baby contracting HIV. ARV treatment can be started even if you find out late in your pregnancy that youre HIV positive. Women who have HIV while pregnant and take antiretroviral medicines ensure they do not transmit HIV to their baby. In fact, in Australia no baby has been born HIV positive when the mother is taking ARV medicines and has a sustained undetectable viral load.