Q and A

Question

I am pregnant. When do I start taking ARV’s?

I am HIV positive and one month pregnant.

When do I start taking the pills that would prevent my child being infected?

Answer

First of all, congratulations on your pregnancy.

The WHO [World Health Organisation] guidelines for treatment in pregnancy recommend  all pregnant women wshould start antiretroviral treatment (ART).

They also recommend that ART for the prevention of mother to child transmission should be started as early as possible, and especially after the first 3 months. This is indepdent of the edicison to use treatment for your own health.

ART during pregnancy as the key factor in reducing the risk of transmission of HIV to your baby. This ideally means having an undetectable viral load at the time of delivery.

Viral load refers to the amount of virus in your body. Undetectable means having so little HIV that the standard test cannot find any virus. You can only achieve an undetectable viral load by taking ART. The earlier you can achieve and maintain this, the better.

For more information see this guide on HIV, pregnancy and women’s health. It answers a lot of questions you may also have around HIV and pregnancy in general.

You might also find it useful to read the Treatment Action Campaign’s [TAC] Pregnancy in our lives. It explains  guidelines for treatment in pregnancy,  for women living with HIV in South Africa. TAC are based in South Africa. They can also give you more information about where you can access further support, or  meet with other HIV positive pregnant women.

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy.

This answer was updated in January 2016 from a question first posted on 24 January 2012.

32 comments

  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Tebogo,

    Congratulations to you both, it’s good to hear you’re soon to be parents.

    But the clinic are right. Your wife’s ARV medication is actually mother to child treatment. Thousands of women all over the world have had healthy HIV negative babies when taking ARVs.

    The benefits of ARV medication are not just to your wife’s health. Treating her HIV will reduce the risk of your baby becoming HIV positive to almost zero.

    Here’s the guide to HIV, pregnancy and women’s health for much more info.

  2. tebogo

    hi my wife is pregnant and she is also hiv posive she is on antiviral medication so she went clinic several times asking about mother to child treatment and they told her that the baby wont be affected if she takes her medication properly so iwant to know if this is true or she should start with the mother to child treatment emeditly as she is 6months pregnant ???

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