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How To Prevent HIV Transfer From Parent To Child?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. R.Pavan Kumar 89% (39 ratings)
MBBS, PGDHS,PGDHIVM
General Physician, Nalgonda  •  12 years experience
How To Prevent HIV Transfer From Parent To Child?

The threat of HIV is known to almost everyone. The way it can damage the immunity of the body making it susceptible to other life-threatening diseases has become a serious concern. Adults can get HIV through sexual contact, sharing of injections and drug needles that are already infected with HIV and infected blood. A child could get the human immunodeficiency virus from its mother, during pregnancy, delivery, labor, and breastfeeding. Keep on reading to know the possible methods of preventing such HIV transmission.

Women who are pregnant
Women who are already pregnant or considering on starting a family, and have HIV, need to talk to the doctor regarding possible options to prevent their child from getting infected too. In such cases when HIV is detected during pregnancy, the HIV infected women are provided with necessary medications, both throughout pregnancy and during childbirth. Once the child is born, he or she too receives HIV preventive medications for around 4 to 6 weeks, right after birth and prevented from breastfeeding. Women who are planning a pregnancy should opt for HIV test at the earliest and start with ART right away to treat the HIV infection.

HIV negative parent with an HIV positive partner
For those would-be parents, where one of the partners is HIV negative and another is HIV positive, talking to your doctor right away is strongly advised, as planning a pregnancy without being treated first may result in the newborn having HIV too. While the HIV negative partner needs to consult a doctor about taking PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV, the HIV positive partner too should opt for anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to reduce the chances of transmitting HIV to their partner.

Women who are lactating or nursing the child
HIV can be transmitted through breast milk. If the mother is HIV infected and still nurses the baby, there is a chance that the child will be infected. Therefore, once diagnosed with HIV, a mother should not breastfeed her child if the baby is not infected with HIV. Sometimes babies are even fed chewed food. In that case, if the parents have HIV, he or she must never feed their child pre-chewed food, as HIV may get transmitted to the child, according to studies and reports.

In poor patients or who could not maintain hygiene for top feeding, they can give breastfeeding if mother's start a.r.t as soon as possible.

In case you have HIV and you are planning on starting a family, consult a doctor before conception. As step of the process involves the risk of HIV transmission. Therefore, it is best to know about the possible preventive methods beforehand. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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