Ways to prevent mother-child HIV transmission
Created by Dr Himani Khanna Updated on Dec 01, 2017
Prerna (name changed) was a healthy woman in her prime 20s and pregnant. Life was good, till her doctor suggested an HIV test. ‘Why?’ Prerna asked the doctor and the doctor replied, "it is a normal routine test Prerna, nothing to be scared about!" "But, why me doctor?" she asked again in an agitated voice. She knew there was nothing wrong with her and so she told her doctor that she will not go for a test, even if it kept her identity anonymous. So it was a bad shock to the new parents when the doctor informed them that their newborn was HIV infected.
"How?" "Why?" There were so many questions raging in their minds.
How Is HIV Transmitted From Mother To Child?
Mother to Child HIV transmission occurs when an HIV infected woman gives birth to a child. The chances of HIV transmission increase also during breastfeeding. Our expert Dr. Himani Khanna, says that an early detection can prevent the transmission, here she talks about the ways an HIV-infected woman can give birth to a non-HIV infected baby.
How To Prevent Mother To Child HIV Transmission?
Since mother to child transmission being the most common way (90%) of HIV transmission it is important to know all the preventive measures that may help in preventing childhood AIDS. Here are the steps to prevent transmission.
Preventing Transmission During Pregnancy
- Testing: HIV testing to detect it, as early as possible during pregnancy and or before a woman gets pregnant, is one of the most crucial steps in early detection. So, even if you are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant then do opt for HIV test. It will save you lot of trouble
- Prenatal Treatment: Women with HIV receive HIV medicine during pregnancy and childbirth.
- HIV medications are safe during pregnancy and have not been found to cause any birth defects
- These medications work by preventing the multiplication of virus thereby reducing its amount in the mother’s body. Thus reducing the risk of passing the virus to the foetus!
- These HIV medications get transmitted via placenta to the foetus and thereby protect the baby from infection
- With HIV medicine the transmission risk from mother to child reduces drastically. The chances of passing the virus to the child are high (15-45%) if the infected mother is untreated, as compared to a mother who has been under treatment (5%)
Preventing Transmission During Child Birth
It is also noticed that the chances of HIV transmissions are high during vaginal deliveries as compared to caesarean deliveries. Hence, doctors advise continuing HIV medications, and a pregnant woman may undergo a planned caesarean section in certain cases.
Preventing Transmission During Breastfeeding
If the mother is on HIV medications she may be encouraged to practice safe breastfeeding practices. However, the mother and family should be well informed about the chances of transmission of HIV via Breast milk and that mother may avoid breastfeeding.
Care And Treatment Of A Child Born To An HIV-infected Mother
For an HIV-infected person, family’s support is extremely important. Awareness among, and support from family can help prevent many cases of these mother-child transmissions. On this World AIDS Day, let’s take a pledge to prevent the HIV transmission from a pregnant mother to child and try to curb AIDS – the most destructive global pandemics in history.
Did you find this blog on preventing HIV transmission from mother to child, informative? Please do share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you.
- Babies born to HIV positive women should receive HIV medication for 4 to 6 weeks after birth
- Early testing to determine a child’s HIV status is quite important because we must know that a child with HIV-positive status, without treatment half of the infected children won’t make it to their second birthday. Those receiving treatment, however, can thrive and remain healthy well into adulthood
| Dec 01, 2017
This is a very informative post.
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