HIV positive, starting a family? A new online tool to help you prepare

Selina Corkery
Published: 31 July 2013

June 2013 marked a global milestone in the history of HIV – the millionth HIV-negative baby was born to a woman living with HIV.

Nowadays, effective HIV treatment means that being HIV positive needn’t stand in the way of planning to start or expand your family, or of having a healthy HIV-negative baby.

For information tailored to your own situation, try our new online tool, HIV & pregnancy, at www.aidsmap.com/pregnancy

Planning a pregnancy

In the UK, the high standards of our HIV treatment and care mean that the risk of a woman with HIV passing HIV on to her baby is very low. For women who are on effective HIV treatment and who have an undetectable viral load, risk of transmission to their baby is 0.1%, or one in a thousand. Despite this, we know that many women are still anxious about the chances of passing on HIV to their baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.

And like any other woman who is pregnant or thinking about pregnancy, women with HIV are likely to be concerned about their own health and that of their baby. There’s a wealth of information available on having a baby, but having HIV is another factor in the mix, and is likely to add to your queries and concerns.

NAM already publishes several resources on HIV, pregnancy and preventing mother-to-child transmission.

But we know it can be overwhelming to be faced with too much information – the most useful advice takes into account your own situation as well as the scientific evidence. So, we’ve worked with doctors, nurses, midwives, community organisations and – most importantly – women living with HIV to produce a new resource onHIV and pregnancy.

New resource! HIV & pregnancy

HIV & pregnancy is aimed at women living with HIV who are thinking about having a baby or who are pregnant, as well as HIV-negative women whose partner is HIV positive. It’s an online tool which can be used on a computer or a smartphone – find it at www.aidsmap.com/apps.

It asks you a series of questions, and then creates a factsheet with information relevant to you, based on your answers.

We hope you’ll find the information useful, reassuring, and a good starting point for a discussion with your doctor, nurse or midwife, or with anyone providing you with support.

We’ve based the information in HIV & pregnancy on the guidance given to all HIV clinicians in the UK. (That will mean that not all everything will be applicable in other parts of the world, especially countries with different healthcare systems.)

BHIVA, the HIV healthcare workers’ professional organisation in the UK, researched and published new guidance on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in 2012. The guidelines are based on the best-available evidence, so HIV clinic staff following these recommendations will be providing the best possible treatment and care to their patients.

Although the guidelines are for clinicians, BHIVA recognised that some people living with HIV will want to know what’s in them. NAM was delighted to be asked by BHIVA to produce summaries of the guidelines on HIV treatment during pregnancy (and the ones on adult treatment).

And while thinking about different forms of contraception might be the last thing on your mind if you are pregnant or planning to be, at some point you might find our HIV & contraception online tool useful too. You can use it to get personalised information about contraception and the choices you have.

For more information

If you would like more information about this resource, or if you would like to tell us what you think of it or how you have used it, please get in touch with us at info@nam.org.uk

NAM is very grateful to AbbVie and Bristol-Myers Squibb for funding the development of our online tools on reproductive health.

HIV positive, starting a family? A new online tool to help you prepare

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