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Pregnancy and infection
Mar 23, 2004

Thank you for attending to my question Dr.My question is:I am HIV + and if I get pregnant with the father being HIV positive,and use ARV to prevent transmittion,can the baby still be positive due to the fathers` HIV status.

Response from Dr. Lee

Baby's do not acquire HIV from the father, but from the mother. This is because the infection is not inside the sperm, but in the cells the sperm is swimming with (in the white cells of the semen). Since the sperm is the only male cell that participates in the formation of the baby, infection does not occur that way.

Infection does occur if the mother's virus crosses through the placenta or is transmitted during delivery through blood to blood contact with the baby. Therefore, if the mother does not become infected, neither will the child.

HOWEVER, please be aware that sex with an infected man in order to become pregnant can and too often does result in the mother's infection. Also, if the mother becomes infected during pregnancy, the risk of transmission to the baby is greater than for a baby of a mother with more chronic infection.

There are no studies about using antiretrovirals to prevent transmission of HIV in order to have sex with an infected person. These prophylactic studies have been suggested, but to date not completed. Therefore, I would advise extreme caution in this matter.

Be well.


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