i-base

HIV, pregnancy and women’s health (November 2015)

The November 2015 guide to HIV, Pregnancy and Women’s Health is the 7th edition of this i-Base guide.

Important changes in the guide because of new research include:

  • HIV treatment is now routinely recommended for everyone who is HIV positive. This includes pregnant women.
  • Your CD4 count is no longer used to decide (or delay) when to start treatment. It is also no longer used to decide to stop treatment after your baby is born.
  • New information about safe conception for couples where one is HIV positive and the other HIV negative. This is about being on antiretroviral therapy (ART) with an undetectable viral load.
  • Starting ART as soon as possible in pregnancy. This could mean when you are diagnosed.
  • A stronger recommendation for vaginal delivery. This is for mothers on ART with undetectable viral load and no other complications.

These changes are all based on the UK guidelines from British HIV Association (BHIVA). The UK is one of the safest countries in the world to have a baby. Using ART, good care, and by not breastfeeding, the risk of transmitting HIV to the baby is less than 1 in 1000.