Advice If You’re Pregnant
HIV treatment is available to prevent you passing HIV to your child.
Without treatment, there’s a 1 in 4 chance your baby will become infected with HIV. With treatment, the risk is less than 1 in 100 .
Advances in treatment mean there’s no increased risk of passing the virus to your baby with a normal delivery.
But in some cases, a caesarean section may still be recommended, often for reasons not related to your HIV.
Discuss the risks and benefits of each delivery method with the staff at your HIV clinic. The final decision about how your baby is delivered is yours, and staff will respect that decision.
If you have HIV, do not breastfeed your baby as the virus can be transmitted through breast milk.
How To Become Pregnant When One Partner Is Hiv Positive And The Other Is Hiv Negative
There is good news for couples in this situation.
Recent large studies, notably The HIV Prevention Trials Network Study 052 and the PARTNER studies showed no transmissions from anyone on ART with undetectable viral load.
Successful ART is as effective as consistent condom use in limiting transmission and this is recommended for safe conception in the UK. Importantly, this is provided:
- Neither partner has another STI.
- The HIV positive partner has a viral load below 50 copies/mL for over 6 months.
- The HIV positive partner has regular viral load testing .
Doctors in the UK are recommended to discuss the impact of ART on transmission with all HIV positive people.
Timed intercourse, when the women is most fertile, is recommended for conception in couples that generally prefer to use condoms as well as ART. Occasionally short-course PrEP might be used by the HIV negative partner.
Note: This guide is mostly for HIV positive women but this advice could also be for HIV negative women with HIV positive partners.
Stage : Acute Hiv Infection
Within 2 to 4 weeks after infection with HIV, about two-thirds of people will have a flu-like illness. This is the bodys natural response to HIV infection.
Flu-like symptoms can include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. But some people do not have any symptoms at all during this early stage of HIV.
Dont assume you have HIV just because you have any of these symptomsthey can be similar to those caused by other illnesses. But if you think you may have been exposed to HIV, get an HIV test.
Heres what to do:
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Reducing Hiv Transmission During Labour
Ways to reduce HIV transmission during birth include:
- Avoiding procedures in labour that may scratch or cut the babys skin, wherever possible .
- Giving antiretroviral medications to the newborn for around 4 weeks after birth.
Caesarean delivery is recommended if a woman:
- Has a detectable viral load, .
- Is not taking antiretroviral treatment.
- Experiences obstetric delivery complications .
- Has other medical illness complications.
Does Being Durably Undetectable Mean That The Virus Has Left My Body
Even when viral load is undetectable, HIV is still present in the body. The virus lies dormant inside a small number of cells in the body called viral reservoirs. When therapy is halted by missing doses, taking a treatment holiday or stopping treatment, the virus emerges and begins to multiply, becoming detectable in the blood again. This newly reproducing virus is infectious. It is essential to take every pill every day as directed to achieve and maintain a durably undetectable status.
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Should I Take A Medicine To Help Prevent Hiv
PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV transmission but isnt necessary in a monogamous relationship if your HIV-positive partner is taking their medication as prescribed and has an undetectable viral load. In rare cases, says Wohlfeiler, hell prescribe PrEP in this situation after discussing pros and cons of the treatment and making it clear to them that from a medical perspective, they dont really need to go on preventive therapy.
If someone is not undetectable or for some reason cant take their HIV medications every day, I would definitely want the negative individual to be on PrEP, says Gandhi. Treatment as prevention relies on people taking their medications and staying undetectable.
Going on PrEP is also a good idea if your relationship isnt monogamous and youre regularly having sex with different partners, says Wohlfeiler. If youre going to have occasional encounters outside the relationship, he notes, condoms are just as effective at preventing HIV and also have the advantage of protecting you from other STDs.
How Is Hiv Transmitted
Sadly, theres still a lot of misinformation that surrounds how HIV is transmitted. So, if your partner has recently received a positive diagnosis, you may feel scared to ask questions for fear of coming across as insensitive. However, its important to remember that youre in this together and can be a vital support. Your health care provider will be able to provide both you and your partner with any information you need and point you in the direction of support networks.
These are the facts about HIV transmission: HIV is most commonly passed on when you come into contact with semen , vaginal fluids, breast milk, and blood. If these fluids contain HIV, the virus can be transmitted by entering an HIV-negative person via the mucous membrane of the vagina, rectum, mouth, or penis. HIV can also enter the bloodstream through open cuts.
The most common way of contracting HIV is through unprotected sexual activity . There is a very small risk of contracting HIV through oral sex, but the risk is very low. It can also be passed on by sharing needles with someone who is HIV-positive or receiving infected blood during a transfusion. Mothers can also pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding, but medication can drastically reduce the risk of this happening.
Lets bust some HIV transmission myths while were here: The virus cannot be passed on by sharing saliva during kissing, sharing a toilet, sharing household items, or through coughing and sneezing.
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What Happens If I Stop Taking Antiretroviral Therapy
When therapy is stopped, viral load rebounds, and the risk of transmitting HIV to a sexual partner in the absence of other prevention methods returns. NIAID-supported research has provided clear-cut scientific evidence to support the benefits of staying on continuous antiretroviral treatment. In 2006, NIAIDs large clinical trial called SMART showed that people receiving intermittent antiretroviral treatment had twice the rate of disease progression compared to those receiving continuous treatment.
Taking antiretroviral treatment daily as directed to achieve and maintain durably undetectable status stops HIV infection from progressing, helping people living with HIV stay healthy and live longer, while offering the benefit of preventing sexual transmission. Stopping and re-starting treatment can cause drug resistance to develop, making that treatment regimen ineffective and limiting future treatment options.
Monogamous Relationships And Open Relationships
You should talk to your partner and agree whether your relationship will be monogamous or open .
There are risks in not discussing it and assuming that your partner agrees with you. Some people who think they are in a monogamous relationship find out that their partner has had sex with others.
Both monogamous and open relationships can bring benefits and challenges. For example, some couples in monogamous relationships say they enjoy feeling both physically and emotionally committed to only one person. However, they may feel frustrated if they have a higher or lower sex drive than their partner.
Some couples in open relationships say they enjoy the sense of freedom and variety it can bring, but it can also highlight any feelings of jealousy or insecurity within the relationship.
Mutual trust and honest communication are vital in both monogamous and open relationships.
If you both agree to be monogamous it’s important that you discuss what would happen if one of you broke this agreement. If either of you feels you must hide the fact that youve had sex outside the relationship, it can seriously threaten the relationship as well as both partners sexual health.
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If One Partner Is Positive And One Is Negative
If one of you is HIV positive and one of you is HIV negative, you need to be careful to reduce the risk of transmission.
This involves learning about which activities have a risk and which are most safe.
If the HIV positive person has an undetectable viral load on ART then the risk is zero. It is zero even without condoms.
If the HIV negative person is taking PrEP then the risk of transmission is also zero. This is also zero without condoms.
PrEP is when HIV drugs are taken by an HIV negative person before and after sex to prevent HIV.
Condoms, if used correctly, protect against HIV.
Lots of couples where HIV status is different have full and active sex lives without the negative partner ever catching HIV.
Do I Legally Have To Disclose My Hiv Status To A New Partner
In England and Wales, theres no legal requirement to tell people you have HIV if theres no risk of you passing it on e.g. if youre having protected sex. This means using a condom and/or having an undetectable viral load.
However, you might be prosecuted if you knowingly put someone at risk of HIV without letting them know. In other words: you know you are HIV positive, and you have sex without a condom and/or your viral load is not undetectable yet. If you don’t tell them about the risk of HIV transmission, they can prosecute you if they get HIV.
In Scotland the law goes even further, as its possible to be prosecuted for putting someone at risk of HIV, even if transmission didnt occur .
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What Does It Mean To Be Durably Undetectable
Taking antiretroviral therapy daily as prescribed to suppress HIV levels leads to an undetectable status. A person is considered to have a durably undetectable viral load if their viral load remains undetectable for at least six months after their first undetectable test result. It is essential to continue to take every pill every day as directed to maintain an undetectable viral load.
What Are The Chances Of Getting Hiv Through Anal Or Vaginal Intercourse
One way to address the anxiety about infecting a partner is to understand the exact level of risk involved with different types of sexual activity. Among heterosexuals, vaginal intercourse is a common route of HIV transmission, with the woman at greater risk for HIV infection than the man. Says Henderson, The risk for infection for the female is about twice that of the male partner.
The type of sexual behavior that poses the greatest risk for passing on the HIV virus is receptive anal intercourse, Henderson says, explaining that the person receiving the penis in the anus is the receptive person. In heterosexual sex, that is the woman.
She notes that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , receptive anal intercourse carries a risk for HIV transmission 17 times greater than receptive vaginal intercourse. In men who have sex with men, anal intercourse also poses a risk of infection for the insertive partner, Henderson says, although the danger is 13 times greater for the receptive partner.
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Actions For This Page
- HIV can pass from mother to baby during pregnancy or birth or via breastmilk.
- Due to treatment advances, mother to child transmission of HIV is very rare in Australia.
- With medical support, the HIV transmission rate from mother with HIV taking antiretroviral treatment to their unborn child is 1% or less in Australia.
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.
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What To Do If Your Partner Has Hiv
Now that we know how HIV transmission, testing, and treatment work, lets dig deeper into the emotional side of an HIV diagnosis.
Finding out that your partner has HIV doesnt have to mean an end to the relationship, nor does it mean sex is off the table. An HIV diagnosis should not thwart a happy, healthy sex life. Many people who are in a serodiscordant relationship can have a fulfilling and thriving intimate sex life, says Drury.
Try and make a conscious and deliberate effort to be open with each other and carve out time to be intimate, says Drury. Spend time discussing what you love about your sex lives, rather than focusing on the negatives. You can always reach out to a therapist if you need extra support psychosexual therapists are trained to support couples with their sex lives.
Keeping everyone in the relationship happy and healthy is a team effort, and all couples should understand that maintaining good sexual health is a shared responsibility. For serodiscordant couples, that might mean adopting prevention methods for the partner who is HIV-negative, supporting your HIV-positive partner, or both. You might consider taking PrEP. Its also key to use barrier protection like condoms and dental dams during sex.
“Its entirely possible to have a healthy relationship and a fulfilling sex life with a partner who is HIV-positive”
Getting Pregnant And Hiv: Man Living With Hiv And Hiv
Submitted on Jun 24, 2022
Para leer esta hoja informativa en español, haga clic aquí.
Note: In this fact sheet, “woman” and “man” refer to cisgender people. Much of the information for “women” is relevant to people assigned female sex at birth who do not identify as women and the information for “men” is relevant to people assigned male sex at birth who do not identify as men.
There are several different options for reducing the chances of passing on HIV while trying to have a baby. If you are a man living with HIV and your partner is an HIV-negative woman seeking information on getting pregnant, the following options will help you understand what might be best for you and prepare for discussions with your health care provider.
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Practicing Safe Sex When Both Partners Have Hiv
It’s natural to wonder if safe sex is unnecessary when you and your partner both have HIV. After all, if you don’t have to be concerned about transmitting HIV between each other, that’s one less thing to worry about at a time when your health is already at the forefront of your mind. So what’s the bottom line? Can you take safe sex off your to-do list?
How Can I Protect Myself
The only foolproof way of not getting an STD is not having sex in the first place. Since thats not how most adults operate, the good news is that there are an increasing number of ways you can protect yourself against becoming infected with HIV, while still being able to connect sexually with your HIV positive partner.
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How Can I Help My Hiv+ Partner
Theres a ton of literature out there and many professionals that can speak to you at length about the ways to support someone who is dealing with being HIV positive. Im not going to go into all of them. Instead, Ill just say that the number one way to help someone who has just found out they were diagnosed with HIV is to support them however they want. Ask them. If they dont know, give them the space to let them figure it out, just as you would any other challenge they go through.
Something you can do more pragmatically is help them get into treatment . Research has found that starting antiretroviral therapy immediately after youre diagnosed with HIV is extremely helpful for long-term health. You can also help them set up a reminder system so they remember to take their medication, because its important that they take their antiretrovirals as directed otherwise their viral load count can rise, they can become resistant to the medications theyre on, and their health can decline.
Getting Pregnant When A Male Partner Is Hiv
If a male partner is HIV-positive, a procedure called sperm washing can be used to conceive. During this procedure a machine separates sperm cells from the seminal fluid, which can carry the virus. The washed sperm is then used to fertilise the womans egg using a special catheter inserted into the uterus.
If the male partner is on effective treatment and has a stable undetectable viral load, there is no risk of HIV transmission.
In-vitro-fertilisation may also be an option.
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