All pregnant women should be tested for HIV, because HIV can be transmitted from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or while breastfeeding. There is about a 25% chance of transmitting HIV to the baby during pregnancy or delivery without intervention. However, medical intervention, including anti-retroviral therapy, can reduce transmission, resulting in the delivery of a healthy, HIV-negative baby. Visit The Body for more information on pregnancy and HIV.
To reduce HIV
transmission in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention recommend that all pregnant women:
Receive prenatal care.
Be screened for HIV during the first and third trimester. If this has
not happened, or results are not available, they should be offered
routine voluntary HIV testing at labor and delivery.
positive, the mother should be offered combination anti-retrovirals
prenatally, as well as obstetrical interventions at delivery and
anti-retroviral prophylaxis for their newborn.
For women not
tested prenatally or during labor/delivery, HIV testing should be made
available for the mother and her newborn in order to offer HIV
prophylaxis as soon as possible to preserve the health of the infant.