This is one of the most important questions that will likely occur in the minds of PLHIV, especially when they start considering relationships and marriage, and it is a very valid one.
At the early stages of this pandemic, the answer would have been a resounding “NO”. However, improvement in the understanding of the virus, its disease process and advances in its management, have made the answer “YES!”.
WHAT TO DO?
Whenever you are pregnant, even if you were positive before pregnancy or if your status was discovered during routine ante-natal tests, make sure you do your ante-natal in a hospital, where a doctor can regularly check on you and guide you through a PMTCT (PREVENTION OF MOTHER TO CHILD TRANSMISSION OF HIV) protocol. Doing your ante-natal in a maternity will decrease your chances of having a negative child, especially if the care givers are not qualified.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
- You may be commenced on Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) if you are not already on it, or have your drugs changed.
- You may be offered caesarean section (This mood of delivery increases the chances of having a negative child, because it reduces chances of contact between maternal fluid and blood and the baby).
- Your child will be commenced on prophylactic ART as soon as possible.
- An HIV test may be done for your child soon after delivery, or from 4 to 6 weeks after delivery…don’t be dismayed if its positive. It might be antibodies from you that passed into the baby that reacted. The definitive test is the dry blood spot test at 18 months.
- You might be advised to feed the child only artificial baby feeds. This is because the virus can be transmitted through breast milk.
Cheers! Do have a lovely day!!!
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