HIV is one of the medical problems that face many families and individuals today and everyone will agree that it is the single most pronounced of these problems. There are a number of reasons that can be given to explain why the problem of HIV continues to be a menace in the modern world today.
The first of these reasons is that HIV/AIDS does not have a practical medical cure at present that has been proved successful at treating the problem.
The syndrome is fatal and no matter all the interventions that have been unveiled regarding such treatment, the fact remains that once infected, you are going to carry the virus until the day of your death.
All of the medical interventions, including the use of ARVs, only serve to extend the life expectancy of the infected individuals. This is precisely the reason why the issue of HIV and pregnancy has excited so much attention from the medical world as people wake up to the importance of preventing the transmission of the virus to their children during pregnancy.
In spite of the many efforts at sensitization of the public that have been made to make people aware of the risks of transmission of HIV to their unborn children, many new expectant mothers continue to live in ignorance concerning the availability of such measures.
The following parts of this article will attempt to relate HIV and pregnancy, especially in terms of the transmission of the virus from the parents to their unborn children.
Is there a relationship between HIV and pregnancy?
Various studies and researches in the field have revealed that it is possible for expectant mothers who are infected with the virus to transmit the virus to their unborn children. There are a number of ways through which such transmission can take place and a few of them are discussed in detail below. HIV can be transmitted to unborn children through:
- Labor and delivery
- Exchange of body fluids from mother to child during pregnancy
The HIV virus is normally carried in the body fluids. Since the expectant mother is the primary source of such fluids for the unborn child, it is therefore clear just how much risk the unborn children are faced with. In addition, the virus can also pass into breast milk. Thus even after the baby has been born, there is still risk of infection by the mother. This could happen through breastfeeding and therefore it is imperative that the pregnant women seek out all the information about HIV and pregnancy so that they can prevent the infection of their babies.
Prevention of HIV transmission during pregnancy
There are a number of interventions regarding HIV and pregnancy that have been unearthed over the years whose main objective is to reduce the risks of infection by this virus from the parents to their unborn children. One such measure that deserves special mention at this point is sperm washing. This is a measure that is usually applied in the event that the man is infected with the drug while the woman is HIV negative. Sperm washing involves the screening of the man’s viable sperms and the selection of the ones that are not infected by the virus for implantation into the woman.