How to Prevent Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV?

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This article is going to highlight the transmission of HIV from infected mother to baby and how to prevent the transmission of HIV to the child.

transmission of HIV

World AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) day, which is celebrated on 1st December every year, is a great opportunity to spread awareness about the disease and show our support to the people living with AIDS.

AIDS is the disease which is caused by the infection of virus called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).

The other main purpose of celebrating world AIDS day is to reduce/ remove stigma related to AIDS which makes the patients to hide their infectious conditions which increase the chances of spread of the disease.

Transmission of HIV:

 HIV lives in blood and genital secretions. Hence HIV spreads through direct contact with the blood of the HIV infected individual which occurs mainly through following ways:

  1. Sexual intercourse with HIV infected individual
  2. By transfusing HIV positive blood to the healthy person
  3. Using HIV infected syringes/ needles/ear-nose piercing instruments/ any other equipments
  4. From HIV infected mother to child

Although many people are aware about the modes of prevention of the spread of HIV infection caused by first three ways, very few are aware that the fourth mode of HIV transmission, from HIV infected mother to child, is also preventable.

HIV transmission from infected mother to child:

HIV transmission from HIV infected mother to baby can occur during pregnancy (via crossing the placenta), labor (through contact with blood) or breast feeding (through breast milk). This type of transmission of HIV is also called perinatal HIV transmission.

HIV positive women sometimes hesitate to ask anything related to pregnancy or transmission to the baby due to stigma related to the disease and social fear. There is a myth among people that if the pregnant mother is HIV infected, the baby born to her is also infected with HIV without any prevention. It is not truth, as mentioned it is just a misconception. The risks of HIV transmission from HIV infected mother to baby can be reduced by few ways and even the transmission can be prevented.

How to prevent HIV transmission from HIV positive mother to baby?

During regular pregnancy checkups, gynecologists prescribe for HIV testing during early pregnancy. It is because if the woman is found HIV positive, treatments and precautions can be given as soon as possible.

It is really heart breaking and a tough time for you and your loved ones to cope up with the HIV infection. But,

If you start an immediate treatment, you can reduce the strength of HIV in your body and protect your baby from infection. To prevent HIV transmission in babies from infected mother,

  • HIV infected Pregnant women are given medicines which are safe during pregnancy and child birth.
  • The newborn to the HIV positive mother is given anti retroviral medication for six weeks after birth.
  • To prevent HIV transmission through breast feeding, HIV positive mums should avoid breast feeding and instead should go for formula feeding.
  • In some cases where women’s HIV count is unknown or more than 1000/ml, then doctors recommend scheduled caesarian delivery to prevent mother to child HIV transmission.

HIV medicines reduce the ability of HIV in body and help to reduce the risk of transmission. It should be also taken by all HIV patients as these medicines improve quality of life and help to live longer.

Although these methods do not assure 100% prevention of HIV transmission, they can provide up to 99% protection against transmission.

Check a few points with your doctor:

While taking HIV medicines, pregnant women should make sure few points with their doctors,

  1. Whether the medicines prescribed to you are safe during pregnancy.
  2. Check if these medicines have any side effects or any noticeable effects on the pregnancy.
  3. Make sure that your body is not resistant against the prescribed medicines, if your body is drug resistant, there will be no effect of the medicines on HIV infection.
  4. Ask your doctor if there is a chance of any possible unlikely interaction/ reaction between the anti retroviral drugs and the regular pregnancy medicines you are already taking.

If you take the medication regularly and follow your doctor’s advice, you can prevent transmission of this deadly virus to your baby.

By taking regular medicines and preventing transmission to their babies, HIV positive moms would present the most precious gift to their babies.

Hope this article on preventing transmission of HIV from infected mother to kid was informative.

Live a happy and quality life with your little ones who bring a special kind of joy in your life. Stay blessed. Happy motherhood to all.

About Author

A mom to eleven month old, Riddhi is interested in cooking, crafting and writing. She also volunteers for a newspaper.

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