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Guide to HIV, Pregnancy and Women's Health: Introduction

By Polly Clayden

March 2013


This booklet is about HIV and pregnancy.

It explains what to do if you are diagnosed with HIV in pregnancy. It also explains what to do if you already know you are HIV positive and decide to have a baby.

The booklet includes information about mothers' health, using antiretrovirals during pregnancy and the babies' health.

It includes information on how to have an HIV negative baby if you are HIV positive.

It also includes information about safe conception for couples where one partner is positive and one is negative.

This is the 6th edition of the i-Base pregnancy guide.

Since our last edition, the British HIV Association (BHIVA) guidelines have been updated and research findings have been reported. These include:

The excellent news is, with good management focusing on a woman's health and choice, there is little risk of transmission to her child for an HIV positive mother delivering in the UK today.

man lifting baby

Our most recent reports show a 1 in 1,000 transmission rate for women receiving combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) with an undetectable viral load of less than 50 copies/mL, whether she has a planned vaginal or planned Caesarean delivery.

This is the lowest transmission rate reported and represents a significant advance in the information available to women planning a family or already pregnant.

We explain what all these terms and options mean and when they are appropriate.

Excellent news too is that people with HIV are living longer and healthier lives so an HIV positive mother in the UK today can also expect to be around to watch her child grow up!

British HIV Association (BHIVA) and Children's HIV Association (CHIVA) Guidelines for the Management of HIV Infection in Pregnant Women 2012 are online.

British HIV Association, BASHH and FSRH guidelines for the management of the sexual and reproductive health of people living with HIV infection 2008 are online.

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