Women with HIV who are pregnant are advised to continue on antiretroviral treatment. Because pregnant women who undergo treatment during pregnancy can reduce the risk of transmission of the HIV virus to their babies by under 1%.
Pregnant women living with HIV have a risk of passing the virus on to babies. This transmission process occurs when the baby is still in the womb, during labor and while breastfeeding.
Reducing Risk Early
The risk of transmission of the HIV virus from mother to baby in the womb can be reduced in the following ways:
- Underwent combination therapy or highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) during pregnancy. About 1 in 4 babies born to mothers who are HIV positive and do not undergo this therapy will be infected with HIV.
- Babies receive antiretroviral treatment during labor and after birth.
- Breastfeeding babies with breast milk is still recommended by WHO, but it is expected that mothers undergo ongoing antiretroviral treatment, to prevent HIV transmission to infants.
If a mother with HIV has received regular treatment until the virus is no longer detected in the blood through viral load testing, then the mother can be considered to be able to give birth with a normal process, without increasing the risk of HIV transmission to the baby.
But in some other cases, your doctor may give a recommendation for pregnant women to give birth by cesarean section to reduce the risk of transmission. This is done if the mother has not previously taken combination therapy and if the virus levels can still be detected in the blood.
Carefully Consume Safe Medication
Always ask your doctor about the safety of medicines for dealing with HIV before taking them. Some types of drugs have a risk of harming the fetus so it is not recommended for consumption during pregnancy. Ask also the possibility of additional medication needed to prevent transmission to the baby in the womb.
Sustiva and atripla are two types of HIV drugs that are proven to interfere with fetal development in early pregnancy. In addition to consumption by drinking, the mother can get antiretroviral drugs through infusion.
Immediately after birth, babies of mothers with HIV will be examined to detect the presence or absence of the HIV virus. The test is done 48 hours after birth. This test will be repeated 6-12 weeks later. In addition, the baby will also get treatment, about four months. The aim is to prevent the development of HIV in the body.
The combination of drug therapy underwent by pregnant women, administration of drugs to newborns and avoidance of breastfeeding, is key in preventing infants in the womb from contracting HIV from their mothers.