HIV is an abbreviation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a deadly virus causing AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome). An HIV positive person can start developing AIDS anytime in his lifetime. There is no absolute cure for this life-threatening syndrome.
HIV virus in your body replicates itself before you are diagnosed with AIDS. These viruses attack your immune system and make you prone to many other infections and illnesses.
If you are a HIV positive to-be-mother, you need to make sure your baby doesn’t get the viruses from you. The mother-to-baby transfer of virus can happen during childbirth and or breastfeeding.
As the virus affects your immune system, thus, symptoms include conditions which arise due to other illnesses, such a fever which may take a long time to heal and other such common symptoms. Others signs can be fatigue, headache, rashes etc. Thus, the only way to know if you are HIV positive or not is by testing.
What to do?
If you are a couple trying to conceive or a pregnant woman, then the first thing you need to do is an Elisa test. This test will state whether you are infected with this virus or not and also give the virus count (viral load) in your blood. This test is crucial as it helps your doctor to decide the adequate medication required to prevent your baby from getting infected by the virus.
HIV positive pregnant women can protect their babies from getting infected.
- Antiretroviral medicines can help in this regard.
- One way to prevent mom-to-baby transmission is a scheduled cesarean delivery, also known as C-section delivery before labor starts (2 weeks prior to the due date)
- An infected mother is suggested to not breastfeed her baby. Formula milk can be an alternative to breastfeeding.
HIV spreads through fluid to fluid contact, thus to prevent yourself from getting the virus:
- Do not have unsafe sexual intercourse and use condoms
- If your partner is HIV positive, then use latex condoms
- Do not reuse needles as they can carry the virus from an infected person to an uninfected person
Don’t panic if you are detected with HIV during your pregnancy. Your doctor will guide and help you reduce the chances of mom-to-baby transmission of the virus. Moreover, medication is now available to help individuals infected with HIV to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Have a safe pregnancy and for all pregnancy related information download Pregnancy Health, Diet and Fitness by Ango!