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Please help, hiv+ and pregnant. two weeks
Jul 25, 2002

I feel like I am losing my mind. I was just diagnosed two weeks ago as hiv positive, and I am pregnant. I have to go to a specialized clinic to begin treatment. I am 15-16 weeks pregnant. I am also enrolled in nursing school. Is there a chance I can live a long life? Can I still be a nurse? Will my child definately have hiv? My first wb test had two strands, 41 and 120/160. a week later it had p18 also. Everything else was not detected. I am afraid to go to sleep at night becasue I am afraid I won't wake up. I have a 13 yr old and I can't tell him. Is there a chance I have some time for both kids? Please respond, and thank you for your time. P.S> do pregnant women ever test positive during pregnancy, then negative afterwards?

Response from Dr. Frascino


First off, I'm assuming that an ELISA test was performed before your Western Blot (WB) tests. I say this because Western Blot tests can give false positive results and should hot be used for screening, but rather only as confirmatory tests for those who already have positive ELISAs. Assuming the ELISA was done and the Western Blot develops into a full positive test with all of the usual bands present, what should you do? First you need to find a knowledgeable and compassionate HIV specialist. He or she will work closely with your obstetrician.

Will your child definitely have HIV, if you are HIV-positive? Absolutely NOT! By treating you and the newborn, the odds are excellent that the baby will not be HIV-positive. We've been able to decrease the number of babies contracting HIV from their HIV-positive moms very dramatically, if the mother and baby are treated appropriately. That's the key. So that's very good news, indeed.

Is there a chance you can live a long life? Absolutely. Again, care of an HIV specialist is crucial. As you may or may not know, I'm HIV-positive and I can assure you I'm quite set on dying from old age, and not from HIV! The virus found me over 10 years ago, and I'm very much still here. I'll bet you'll be looking back 10 years from now with your very healthy boy or girl at your side, and be marveling at just how scary everything seemed way back in the summer of 2002. That's how I feel when I think back to 1991 when I tested positive.

Can you still be a nurse? Well that depends. Can you put up with cranky doctors constantly making unreasonable demands??? Kidding aside, sure you can be a nurse or whatever you'd like.

Is there a chance you'll have some time for both kids? Absolutely. Although how are you going to have the energy to chase the kids around if you don't get some sleep? Don't be afraid to sleep! Your fears are largely unjustified. Sure, living with HIV can be a challenge, but with the proper care and the advances being made, you have every reason to be optimistic. You might try locating a HIV-positive women's support group in your area. Talking to other HIV-positive women and mothers should further reduce your fears. Also, don't delay in seeking the advice of an HIV specialist! We're in this together. OK, Mom?

Good luck. Write back anytime.

Dr. Bob

Aussie Ken again champion
Please help me understand

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