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Transmission during cs
Dec 29, 2017

Please,can a baby be infected with hiv during c section if the mother is hiv positive before pregnancy and not on hiv medication?

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting.

Vertical transmission of HIV from mother to child isn't an absolute thing. Even among pregnant women not receiving antiretroviral treatments (ART), only about 30% of babies will become HIV infected. And while Cesarian sections are not generally recommended as a means of reducing HIV transmission for women on ART, they can reduce transmission among women with high HIV viral loads (generally >1000 copies/mL) or those with unknown viral load near the time of delivery.

The best way to reduce the risk of vertical transmission of HIV is for pregnant women to get HIV tested during pregnancy and if positive, started on ART, and achieving viral suppression. Doing so reduces the risk of HIV transmission to 1% or less. For women in higher risk situations (injection-drug users and their sex partners, women who exchange sex for money or drugs, women who are sex partners of HIV-infected persons, and women who have had a new or more than one sex partner during this pregnancy), the US CDC recommends getting a second HIV test before delivery.

For additional information about HIV and women's health, check out our pages at

I hope that this is helpful, BY

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