Women with HIV infection who become pregnant have a lower risk of progression to AIDS and death, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center report.Their findings, posted last week on the online edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, suggest that “the complex set of immunologic changes” that occur during pregnancy may be interacting in a beneficial way with combination drug therapy.
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According to the latest researches, HIV infected mothers can become pregnant. Women are using antiviral drugs safely in pregnancy. The HIV treatment involves 3 anti-HIV drugs, called combination therapy or HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy). These treatments completely changed the lives of pregnant women [HIV Prevention].
Treatment gave much benefit to HIV infected mothers and their children. The HIV treatment will protect the baby also. Once you are taking the treatment for HIV, you can reduce the risk of your baby becoming HIV positive.
Will being pregnant makes HIV worse?
Being pregnant with HIV virus does not make the health of woman worse. Pregnancy also does not make HIV progress much faster. Temporary drop in CD4 count occurs during pregnancy. The drop can be usually of 50 cells/mm3, but it can also vary.
CD4 count returns back to the original count soon after the baby is born. If your CD4 count falls below 200 cells/mm3, it should be of concern. Once your reach this level, you are at high risk of opportunistic infections. These infections can affect you and your baby and treatment should be taken immediately.
Sometimes, if you are taking medicines during pregnancy, your CD4 count may not increase much, even though viral load goes down. But, no need to worry, your CD4 count will come up after the baby is born.
Pregnancy does not make the HIV infection worse. In addition, babies born to pregnant women with HIV do not have an increased risk of suffering complications in pregnancy and labor as compared to the babies born to HIV negative women.
HIV positive women, who are on effective HIV therapy and undetectable viral loads, have low transmission rates for vaginal births without Cesarean section. Surgeries carry some risks. Women who have surgeries are more likely to get infections than those who give birth vaginally.
In addition, women who became pregnant more than once during the study tended to have a lower risk of disease progression than did women who became pregnant only once.