Why is a caesarean sometimes recommended if you are HIV positive?

Before modern ART was available, planned caesarean section significantly reduced vertical transmission compared to vaginal birth. But there is no difference in more recent studies using ART and viral load testing.

Having a planned caesarean section does not offer any extra benefit if a mother’s viral load is undetectable. But she might sometimes need one for another reason.

The choice is especially important if you might have more children in
the future. This is because vaginal births with later pregnancies are more complicated.

If you need a planned caesarean section, it must be carried out before the start of labour and ruptured membranes. This is also called “pre- labour”, “elective”, or “scheduled” caesarean section.

Last updated: 1 April 2019.