HIV/AIDS in Pregnancy

HIV/AIDS 
 
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV causes AIDS. AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Almost all people who have HIV go on to develop AIDS. People who have AIDS cannot fight off diseases. They usually get serious infections, certain cancers, and other life-threatening diseases. 
In the United States, HIV is most often spread by:
 
Having unprotected sex with an infected person.
Coming into contact with infected blood. In the United States, the most common way for this to happen is for drug users to share needles.
Many people who are infected with HIV do not have symptoms at first. Early signs of HIV infection are:
 
Fever
Headache
Tiredness
Enlarged lymph nodes (glands in the neck and groin)
Health care providers diagnose HIV infection with a blood test.
 
There is no cure for HIV or AIDS. But HIV-fighting drugs can slow the disease and prolong life. The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that pregnant women who are infected with HIV take these drugs.
 
Each year about 6,000 women living with HIV give birth. Many do not know they have the virus. An infected woman can pass the virus to her baby during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding. Drugs can dramatically decrease the risk that a mother will transmit the disease to her baby at the time of birth.
 
What you can do:
Ask your health care provider to screen you for HIV before you’re pregnant or early in pregnancy. The March of Dimes urges all women who think they may have been exposed to HIV to get tested before they become pregnant.
 
Ask your partner to also be screened.
 
While you’re pregnant, you can avoid HIV infection by not having sex and by not using needles that may be infected. If you do have sex: 
 
Have sex with only one partner who is only having sex with you, has been tested for HIV, and is uninfected
Use a latex condom
If you are infected with HIV or have AIDS, do not breastfeed your baby.

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