Can HIV positive women become mothers?

Yes. Women around the world have taken HIV drugs safely in pregnancy now for over 20 years. This usually involves taking at least three drugs and is called antiretroviral therapy (ART).

ART has completely changed the lives of people with HIV in every country where it is used.

ART has had an enormous effect on the health of HIV positive mothers and their children. It has encouraged many women to think about having children (or having children again).

I’ve often said that having an HIV diagnosis does not change who you are. Like many young women I had always wanted to be a mother. In some way, having a positive diagnosis made me think about it even more.

I had my baby five years after I was diagnosed. I guess I was lucky in a lot of ways because by the time I made the decision to have a baby I’d had a lot of peer support, information and met a lot of other HIV positive women, who also had either been diagnosed antenatally, or had children after their diagnosis.

One of the most difficult things during and after my pregnancy was the uncertainty about whether – even taking up all the interventions that were available to me – my baby would be born HIV-negative.

I cannot describe my feelings when I finally got the all clear for my beautiful baby. All the worry, fear and uncertainty were definitely worth the wait!

Angelina, London

Last updated: 1 April 2019.