How Does HIV/AIDS Impact Pregnancy?

In the United States, about 15,000 children have been infected with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. Around 3,000 of them died of the disease, and 90% of them became infected during pregnancy or birth, which is called perinatal transmission. So, if you’re HIV positive and you’re pregnant, you have reasonable cause for concern. 

There’s good news, though. Current treatment protocols have reduced the likelihood of perinatal transmission to less than 1%. The highly trained and qualified providers at Advanced Women’s Healthcare can guide you through what you need to do to lower your chances of transmitting HIV to your baby and have a successful high-risk pregnancy.  

HIV/AIDS

Before we talk about how to protect your baby, we should discuss what HIV is, what AIDS is, and what you should know about treatment. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It’s the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, more commonly called AIDS. 

You can have HIV for many years before it develops into AIDS. You may not even know you have HIV, which is one reason you should be tested regularly if there’s any chance at all you’ve been exposed. 

Testing

If you know that you have HIV, you can be treated for it. There’s no cure, but treatment can keep you healthy for a very long time, and it can lower the possibility that you pass the virus to others. 

Even if you’re only planning to get pregnant and aren’t yet, you should be tested. The earlier you begin treatment, the better. If you test negative, but you and your partner do things that raise your risk of exposure, get tested again during your pregnancy. It’s also wise for your partner to get tested. 

PrEP

If your partner is HIV positive and you want to get pregnant, you should talk to your provider about pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. PrEP could help protect you while you try to get pregnant and your baby if you do. It’s an option for some people while they try to become pregnant, during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding. 

If you are HIV positive

Taking your HIV medicine as it is prescribed is one of the most important things you can do if you’re HIV positive and pregnant. We may also suggest giving your baby HIV medicine for four to six weeks

In some cases, it may be safer for you to have a Caesarean delivery, especially if your viral load is high. If you’re HIV positive, you should avoid breastfeeding, because you could pass the infection to your baby. 

Until the early 1990s, pregnancy while HIV positive meant your baby was most likely going to contract your infection. Now, if you follow the advice of your doctors and take your medication without interruption, there’s far less chance of your baby becoming infected. 

If you don’t know your HIV/AIDS status, schedule an appointment with us, or if you’re planning to become pregnant and you have questions regarding your or your partner’s HIV status, schedule an appointment. We’re happy to answer your questions. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

How to Talk to Your Teen About Birth Control

Regardless of how you feel about teenagers and sex, when your own child is ready to have that conversation, it can be disconcerting. Having a plan in mind before it happens, or bringing up the topic yourself, could be helpful.

When to See a Doctor About Abnormal Bleeding

It can be difficult to know if your “normal” bleeding would be considered abnormal by a medical professional. Maybe you just have heavier periods than average. Or maybe there’s a problem that could be treated.

What Happens at an Infertility Evaluation?

Understanding the reasons you’re having trouble becoming pregnant is an important first step in treating infertility issues. There are many factors that could be impacting your ability to conceive.

5 Signs of PCOS

PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is a relatively common condition among women between the ages of 15 and 44. It’s a lifelong condition with wide-ranging health implications. If you have these five signs of PCOS, you should talk to your doctor.

Is Leaking Urine Normal?

Urinary incontinence is a common problem, especially among women. However, just because it’s common doesn’t make it something you need to live with. There are treatments that can help.

Pelvic Floor Therapy for Prolapse

The name pelvic floor is a bit of a misnomer. This muscle group is more like a pelvic hammock or sling. Regardless of the name, this important group of muscles holds your pelvic organs in place, and when it doesn’t, you have prolapse.