Having a Baby When Both Partners Are HIV Positive

If you and your partner are both HIV-positive and want to have a child, there are two important issues to consider: keeping both of you as safe as possible while trying to get pregnant and preventing the baby from becoming infected.

Protecting Each Other

You may think that the best way to get pregnant is the "old fashioned way." But if both partners are HIV-positive and have unprotected sex, there is a possibility that one may pass on a worse or drug-resistant strain of HIV to the other. This is called reinfection or superinfection.

There is a way to conceive without having unprotected sex called sperm washing. This process may remove HIV from the sperm. After washing, the sperm is inserted into the woman through artificial insemination. (For more information contact www.duncanholly.com or www.columbiaivf.org.)

If you try to get pregnant by having unsafe sex, only do so when the woman is most fertile. This will increase the chances of the woman conceiving in fewer attempts.

It is important to lower the risk of reinfecting your partner by reducing your viral load before trying to get pregnant. You also need to follow your drug regimen exactly to prevent HIV from developing resistance.

Protecting the Baby

Before getting pregnant, the woman should:

  • Get HIV under control. By reducing your viral load, you can reduce the risk of infecting your baby. Women with the lowest viral loads have the lowest risk for transmission.

  • Choose the best HIV regimen. Taking HIV drugs can greatly reduce the risk of passing on the virus to your baby. Talk to your doctor about what medications to take for your health and the baby's health.

Having a baby is a big step for any couple. Talk to your doctor for "preconception" health care and counseling before proceeding.