Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is a virus that destroys the immune system of a person. This virus is highly contagious and can be transmitted in many ways including: vaginal, oral, and anal sex, sharing needles, coming into contact with infected bodily fluids, and also through pregnancy, which is known as mother to child transmission. In the United States, there are about 1.1 million people with HIV and every year there are 540,000 new infections. It is important to note that of those new infections, 25% of them are in women.
When a woman becomes pregnant, her unborn child will take from her body the required nutrients and blood that the child needs to develop properly. If the woman is infected with HIV, there are possibilities that the child could receive the virus as well. This mother-to-child transmission could happen in one of three ways: during pregnancy, during childbirth, or through breastfeeding. When a woman is pregnancy, the child is connected to his mother via her placenta. If virus were to find its way into the child’s placenta, it could then enter and infect the child. Another way, and also the most common route of transmission from mother to child, is during childbirth. When the amniotic sac breaks, the child is in now exposed and in more direct contact to the mother’s blood and bodily fluids which can then infect the child. For this reason, most healthcare providers suggest that a woman receive a cesarean section to avoid such predicaments and lessen the chances of transmission. The third way that a woman can pass her HIV to her child can be through her breast milk. The child could have been born without HIV but if his mother feeds him her infected milk, then the child could contract the virus. This i...
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...ble and that is keeping herself as healthy as possible. Taking special precautions and of oneself can higher the chances of delivering a healthy and HIV-free baby into the world.
AIDS info, 10/1/2013, HIV and women, 2013.
American pregnancy association, 2014, HIV/AIDS during pregnancy, 2014.
BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board, February 2013, HIV/AIDS during pregnancy, 2013.
Baronceilli, S., et al. (2011). Pregnancy outcomes in women with advanced HIV infection in
Italy. AIDS patient care,25(11), 639-645. doi: 10.1089/apc.2011.0172
Jones, D., L., Peltzer, K., Villar-Loubet, O., Shikwane, E., Cook, R., Vamos, S., & Weiss, S., M.
(2013). Reducing the risk of HIV infection during pregnancy among South African women: A randomized controlled trial. AIDS Care, 25(6), 702-709. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09540121.2013.772280
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