HIV-positive mothers can transmit HIV to their babies
k While the mother is pregnant
k During labour and delivery
k Through breast milk
A HIV-positive mother can protect her baby and reduce the risk of her baby becoming infected with HIV by her, by taking a treatment plan that works against HIV.
k Book early at your local ante-natal clinic (as soon as you find out that she is pregnant)
k Both of you get an HIV test at your clinic
k You must both be checked for TB also
k Involve your parents/parents-in-law with the information on PMTCT
If she tests HIV-negative
She must test again after 12 weeks and again at 32 weeks of pregnancy. When you have just been infected with HIV, the HIV test can be negative even though you are HIV infected. This is called being in the window period.
If she tests HIV-positive
She must have a CD4 count and other tests done on the same day. A CD4 count test is used to find out how strong your body is. This counts the number of CD4 cells (fighter cells or ‘soldiers’) in your blood – these cells are part of your immune system that keep you from getting sick. A viral load is a test to count the amount of HIV in your blood.
TB, like other infections, can increase the chances of your baby getting HIV. This is because the infection increases her viral load and decreases her CD4 count. The baby can also get TB from you and your partner. It is very important that you have all infections treated quickly and you both take all your medication correctly.
Supporting Dads-To-Be by HIVSA