Mar 9, 2004
I have been HIV + for 5 years (I am 24). My husband of 2 years is negative. We both have insurance and own a business together. We have been considering a child. My #'s are around 500. We are trying to seriously consider the risks to me (with good pre and after care) and the child. 2 Q's 1) What is the average life expectancy for a woman in my situation these days? (IOW: Can I expect to be there for at least 18 years?) How does the chance of the baby being HIV pos. compare to other dangerous inheritable situations? (Could we tell the child and others that we took no more of a risk than people who fight, say sickle-cell anemia, or diabetes?)
Response from Dr. Lee
The questions you ask show just how seriously you are taking the on-going effort of childrearing as well as childbearing. You are to be commended for taking such a thoughtful approach.
I am not sure what numbers you are describing as "around 500". I assume you are referring to your CD4 or T4 count rather than viral load. If that is the case and you control the virus, there is no reason to expect your numbers to change for a very long time. I don't believe there are solid statistics on how long you can expect, but generally there does not appear to be any reason to expect a shorter life expectancy if the virus is controlled.
Your T4 count will probably drop some during pregnancy, but at 500 you have a little "cushion" and should not have any long-term loss of ground.
If you maintain a viral level that is not detectable (below 50) during the entire pregnancy, and are otherwise healthy, the risk of transmitting to your baby is very low (less than 1%).
I suggest you consult with a knowledgeable HIV provider in your area. Be sure you provide the information about which meds you are on, what your current viral level and T4 are, and other pertinent information. Also, you can discuss how to proceed so that your husband is protected from transmission. Best to you.
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