Why is it important to know if I am HIV positive in pregnancy?

A diagnosis of HIV in pregnancy opens up some very important issues. Firstly, who do you tell? Secondly, do you want to continue the pregnancy? Some women opt to terminate their pregnancy in case the baby is affected, or if they are already ill and unable to cope with looking after a baby. There is no reason to suggest that the pregnancy will necessarily be affected by HIV, if you are otherwise well. Very important if you do decide to continue your pregnancy is that you might be put on anti-HIV drugs ('triple therapy' or less commonly 'monotherapy'). You may be advised to have a Caesarean Section, and it further reduces the risk of transmission if you don't breastfeed. It is so important in this situation for you to have a 'key' professional looking after closely, either specialist midwife, GP or hospital doctor. Whatever you decide to do, there are people who can help you and look after you throughout these difficult decisions, and should you need anonymous help then telephone helplines and GU clinics may be useful. The correct treatment can reduce the chance of your baby becoming infected to less than 2% (from about 15%).
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