AIDS and HIV Infection • Being tested
The HIV antibody test and pregnancy
If you or your partner are concerned about your HIV status, and you are thinking about having a baby, the HIV antibody test may help clarify your choices.
HIV testing should be available, with pre- and post-test counselling, on a voluntary, confidential basis. You and your sex partner should be counselled on the implications that a positive test result will have for both of you, for the fetus and for the infant if pregnancy is considered.
An HIV-infected woman can transmit HIV to her infant. The transmission rate ranges from 12 percent to over 40 percent. Infant-feeding practices and the stage of HIV disease in the mother largely explain the difference. If you are pregnant and HIV-infected, you should be counselled on the options of continuing or terminating your pregnancy (where abortion is legal) and about reducing mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) through treatment with antiretroviral drugs during your pregnancy or avoidance of breastfeeding.
Pregnancy does not appear to accelerate the progression of the clinical course of HIV infection.