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Just Tested, HIV+
May 21, 2004

I am about 5 1/2months pregnant and was recently tested positive for HIV. My question is two-fold. The first one is that, what can I do to protect my unborn child from being seriously infected with theb virus( I am not taking any kind of medication as of yet. I was only given a shot against pneumonia)-this would be my first child. The Doc suggested abortion for fear that the child has already been exposed to the virus, but said that it was up to me to make the final decision. I am really scared. I do not want to abort this pregnancy; but when I think further I am afraid of the attending health crises that may plagued my child; and if I decide to abort, I will have to start another long journey to get pregnant again. My boyfriend hasn't been tested yet. But what if he is tested and its negative, he might not want to continue to have sexual contact with me for fear of contracting the disease. The other question I have is I have done several blood tests in the past several months for Hep B and C and it all came back negative. I also tested for other STDs and they all came back negative. I have had anal sex with my boyfriend before, but with a condom. This most recent test which suggests that I am HIV+ leaves me with a lot of doubts that I may not really have the disease- IS THERE A POSSIBILITY HERE OF ME NOT HAVING THIS DISEASE IF I WENT FOR SERIES OF TESTS AGAIN?

Response from Dr. Lee

There are several issues I want to address. First, do not have an abortion unless you have other reasons for doing so. Second, see a doctor (if possible)who is more knowledgable about HIV. If the doctor you are seeing has recommended an abortion, he or she is probably not very familiar with the disease. If there are no other choices of doctors in your community, ask your doctor to consult a specialist from the academic (university affiliated) medical center nearest you.

The possibility of false positive HIV tests (+ ELISA and usually an indeterminate Western Blot) with pregnancy has been addressed several times in this forum. I recommend seeing a doc who can help you determine whether you have HIV and how likely it is that you may pass it to your baby (the majority of transmission to babies occurs during delivery rather than early in the pregnancy). An HIV viral load test (PCR) is certainly one additional test that may give you important information.

Please get better information before you make any other decisions about this pregnancy.

Be well.

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