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  Sexually transmitted diseases - HIV: Implications

My partner and I are both HIV positive. I have fallen pregnant accidentally and am very concerned about what to do. Any advice?

Since there is always the possibility of a false positive HIV test, perhaps the first step you should consider is a retest. However, you seem to be quite sure that you infected with the virus, in which case the implications of a pregnancy are serious for both you and your baby. There is some good news: no-one is sure why, but around one third of the babies born to mothers infected with HIV do not contract the disease. Taking antiretroviral medication can reduce the risk of mother to baby transmission. Since there is so much research going on concerning this subject, your doctor may have access to new information about substances that reduce the risk of your baby getting infected. Substances such as vitamin A seem to have some bearing on this. In addition, a caesarian delivery before the due date, so that labour has not started, can greatly reduce the risk of transmission.

However, the remaining babies do contract the virus from their mothers, and so the health implications for these babies are huge. In addition there is evidence that the pregnancy itself can greatly influence the severity of the disease for the mother. For these reasons a proportion of infected mothers who find themselves pregnant opt not to continue with the pregnancy. It is a hard decision and counseling should be sought before making the decision.

Should you decide to continue with the pregnancy you need to ensure that you have access to the best medical care and advice that you can access. Your nutrition and lifestyle are paramount during this time. Any pregnant woman needs to eat well, exercise moderately and rest whenever her body requires it. However for a woman infected with HIV this becomes vital. Your body is under a huge amount of stress and you need to give it all the support it needs to ensure as positive an outcome as possible. Taking your medication diligently becomes a must.

See also:

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Effects on baby

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Chlamydia

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Genital Herpes

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Genital warts and HPV

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Gonorrhoea

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - HIV: Chances of infection

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - HIV: Testing

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - HIV: Syphilis

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - HIV: Trichomoniasis

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